zoom Port of BalboaThe Panama Ports Company (PPC), a part of Hong Kong-headquartered Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., has set aside a budget of around USD 110 million to expand Panama’s Balboa port throughout 2015, Reuters reports.The upgrade is expected to result in more loading and unloading space within the port, as well as to electrify the facility’s current fuel-burning crane zone, said Aitor Ibarreche, PPC Chief Executive Officer.“We expect this project will allow us to boost capacity to some 5 million containers, up 11 percent compared with the port’s current capacity,” said Ibarreche.The expansion purposely coincides with the massive, USD 7 billion Panama Canal upgrade project, scheduled for completion by 2016.Besides the Balboa Port, PPC operates the Cristobal Port on the Caribbean coast. World Maritime News Staff; October 13, 2014; Image: ASTL
25 September 2007With rainstorms and strong winds from last week’s Typhoon Wipha compounding the woes of hundreds of thousands of North Koreans already suffering from August’s floods, United Nations agencies are pre-positioning food for a new distribution and appealing to donors to make up a huge funding shortfall. The floods are reported to have affected close to 1 million people and displaced nearly 170,000 across flood-affected provinces in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), killing 454 people with 156 still missing and over 4,351 injured. The DPRK’s Central Bureau of Statistics reports that some 40,463 houses were destroyed, 133,732 houses submerged and 67,056 badly damaged. In addition, over 8,000 public buildings were destroyed or badly damaged, including thousands of schools and hospitals. At least 10 per cent of the total agricultural land was also inundated. Last month’s UN Flash Appeal for $14.1 million currently stands at 12 per cent funding, with just $1.71 million contributed. A further $4.78 million has been pledged. “Donors are encouraged to convert their pledges into contributions as soon as possible,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its latest update. Resident UN Agencies and partners continue to expedite aid delivery and close collaboration with the DPRK Government and local communities continues to be strengthened through regular assessments, OCHA reported. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has finalized details with the Ministry of City Management on a rapid two-week assessment of pumping stations cover 20 affected counties and some 70 per cent of those displaced. The Agency is also working closely with the Ministry of Education to provide emergency school supplies, as well as furniture and stationary to the worst damaged schools. Concerns are turning to repairing schools in time for the winter, as some classes are still being held in the open air. Having completed the first round of emergency food distribution and undertaking monitoring missions to more than half their recipient counties, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) is now pre-positioning stocks for a second round of distribution scheduled to start mid-October. The UN World Health Organization (WHO) is working with the Health Ministry to improve the quality and expedite analysis of disease surveillance, while the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) is distributing emergency kits for family planning and safe and clean delivery for 300,000 displaced persons.