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International Cargo Seaport: Port of Colón

Posted in International Seaport - 14 Feb 2022, 4:27 PM

Since the construction of the Panama Canal was completed in 1914, the canal and the surrounding regions gained a newfound significance as the primary conduit of international maritime trade. In the modern era, the Port of Colón continues to function as a primary seaport in Panama and part of the Colón Free Trade Zone, the single largest free port in the Americas.

About Port of Colón

The Port of Colón and the city of Colón are located near the Atlantic entrance of the Panama Canal in the Caribbean Sea. The city is the capital of the Colón Province, the Panamanian province historically renowned for its economic activities and importance for decades.

Currently, the port consists of two major ports. The first port, Colon Container Terminal (CCT), is located on the city’s north side and Manzanillo Bay. In contrast, the second port, Manzanillo International Terminal Panama (MITP), lies on the east and southeast side of the bay.

The History

The port’s history began with the construction of the port’s city namesake in 1850 by the construction of the Panama Railroad to provide a faster route to deliver gold materials during the Californian Gold Rush. Previously, the city was called Aspinwall by its American citizens and Colon (Spanish for Columbus) by the native population.

Despite the city having had its golden age in the middle of the 20th century thanks to the economic boom during World War II, an economic decline plagued the city and the port during the following decades under military dictatorships.

In 1997, the port was reconstructed and modernized by the Evergreen Group that ensuring the port’s survival to the modern times from decades of stagnation.

Volume of Transaction in Port of Colón

Comprised of 4 docks and 9 berths, the Port of Colón reported annual handling of approximately 120 vessels (of all types), 380.000 tons of important cargo, 2.005.000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of cargo, and 160.000 passengers.

Over the years, the port reported steady growth in handled cargo materials in terms of TEUs. In 2019, it was reported that the port had an increase of cargo shipment in a million TEUs from 4.32 million TEUs in 2018 to 4.38 million TEUs in 2019.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has proven that it did not deter the port from suffering significant setbacks in the total amount of delivered TEUs. In 2021, CCT reported that it had increased its box volumes up to 709.590 TEUs by 36%. In the same regard, MITP managed to pass the 2 million mark with 2.10 million TEUs in the same year, up to 8.4% compared to the previous year.

Interesting Facts

Because of its close location to the internationally famous and important Panama Canal, both the port and the city of Colón are famous for their historical landmarks. In 2014, the city underwent a massive historical landmark reconstruction project to restore the historical condition of the city that has been left in stagnation in the latter half of the 20th century.

Suppose you want to relive the historical era of the 19th century. In that case, you can participate in a train ride managed by the still-active Panama Canal Railway from the Port of Colón in the north to Panama City on the south side of the canal.

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