HUB GOALS

Panama 2018 | LOGISTICS & MARITIME | FOCUS: NATIONAL LOGISTICS STRATEGY 2030

The latest development in Panama's efforts to become a logistics hotspot, its national strategy lays the groundwork for the road to 2030.

The National Logistics Strategy 2030 (ELNP) was adopted through Executive Decree 268 on April 10, 2018. A product of public and private sector collaboration, the strategy was developed under the mandate of the Logistics Cabinet, which was created in 2012 to develop policies that promote Panama as a global logistics hub. The cabinet is chaired by the Minister of Trade and Industry with members from relevant ministries and authorities.

Preparation of the master logistics plan began in 2015 with technical support from the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB), followed by the inauguration of the Panama Canal expansion on June 26, 2016. Marking a historic moment for the Central American country, June 26 was a starting point for a new stage for Panamanian logistics—one of diversification of opportunities and openness to new business. ELNP will provide the concrete roadmap through 2030 toward these qualitative goals. Also prior to the implementation of Panama's logistics strategy, the Logistics Cabinet began efforts to integrate many services, forming a one-stop-shop platform. The platform consolidates services for the shipping sector, airports, infrastructure developers, and special economic and free zones. The government intends for the one-stop shop to eliminate duplicate processes and redundant requirements as well as digitize many processes and payments.

The 12-year, long-term strategy is broken down into smaller timeframes with short-term and medium-term deadlines as well. The short-term deadline is through 2019, or rather through the current administration. The subsequent deadlines also coincide with Panama's five-year political terms, making the medium- and long-term deadlines 2024 and 2029-30, respectively. The speed of implementation is being forced by the competitive international environment. Panama needs to deploy this strategies with urgency as well as consensus for its sustainability and continuity in the medium and long term.

The strategy is a clear support from the government to the private logistics sector, which contributes 19% to the GDP annually. Many in the private sector are eager to play an active role in Panama's ascent to logistics hub, and many company strategies align with the government's master plan. After the effective implementation of the 2030 Logistics Strategy, it is estimated that the total effect will amount to approximately 30% of GDP along with the generation of around 170,000 new jobs.

With increased transport capacity, the knock-on effects for related industries such as industry and agriculture are also emphasized. The cross-sectoral nature of ELNP is both a function and result of the multi-stakeholder composition of the Logistics Cabinet. The national strategy is a significant milestone in Panama's journey to become a worldwide logistics leader by 2030.