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Pride in the Profession

25 JAN 2018

Arènso Bakker: Panama Canal expansion

Arènso Bakker, MRICS and founder of Stig∆ was commissioned to expand the Panama Canal. The complex project covered 1,200 hectares of land and extended the canal by 40 kilometres in length.

Arènso Bakker MRICS was commissioned to carry out the Panama Canal expansion project, otherwise known as the Third Set of Locks Project. As well as the more traditional features of a canal, the design also consists of a solar park, a reservoir, a power plant and various industrial and business park sites.

Thanks to its canal, Panama City has always been a strategic port-city. However, the Third Set of Locks Project has now positioned Panama City as a logistically strategic hub between Asia, Europe, Colombia and Mexico. One year on from the project’s completion and authorities have already recorded a 22% increase in the annual tonnage of cargo using the canal.

New commodities

The additional transhipment space has also allowed new commodities, such as Liquefied Natural Gas to pass through the port. This has led to a significant economic development of the area thanks to increased trade and additional employment opportunities. Surrounding countries such as Colombia have also benefit economically from the new commercial hub, as Panama has been able to import greater amounts of nearby fresh produce. Similarly, Asia and Mexico have benefitted from faster trade routes into the US.

Arènso’s RICS qualification played a big role in winning the tender for the Canal, as it demonstrated to stakeholders that the development would be built to the highest standards. Throughout the project it was important for Arènso and his team to develop the project efficiently and sustainably. It was for this reason a solar park and a reservoir that could generate energy and protect the site from increasing sea-levels, were essential to the plans.

The positive economic impact of the project has exceeded the expectations of authorities and has led to talks of further expansion.