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Sanders Leads Plaquemines Port Delegation On Panama Trip - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Plaquemines Port Executive Director Sandy Sanders lead a contingent of Plaquemines Port Commissioners to Panama recently to participate in a fact-finding mission designed to continue marketing port development opportunities in Plaquemines Parish and build relationships with Panamanian decision makers.

Along with Sanders were Port Chairman Dr. Stuart Guey and port commissioners Anthony Buras, Jeff Edgecombe, P.V. Griffin, and Keith Hinkley. Port lobbyist Eric Sundstrom also attended.

Sanders said efforts underway at the Plaquemines Port correlate so well with huge expansions taking place in Panama. "Panama is the epicenter because of logistics, infrastructure and the ability to move cargo quickly. We fit well logistically because we are the southernmost deep-water port on the Mississippi River, about equal sailing distance from Panama as Charleston (SC) and Savannah (GA).”

"But when the ships come here, our advantage is the ability to move cargo quickly to 33 states by barge, highway and rail. We will also be able to service larger ships with the Mississippi River deepening project authorized by Congress. I truly believe cargo moving through the Panama Canal will need ports just like the port we are building to supply the needed volume for their scale,” Sanders added.

"Seeing firsthand the economic boom in Panama as a result of thoughtful planning and implementation by the Canal Authority only reinforces the fact that we are using the right approach with the Port of Plaquemines. They continue to find ways to move cargo quicker. Our emphasis has to be the same. Getting cargo to market quicker than anyone else,” Guey said.

Hinkley said the trip made evident the importance of establishing relationships in Panama, which will be the center of activity for a long time. "There is so much happening in Panama. The second canal is just getting close to opening and they are already planning for a third canal. There is so much there, it is hard to comprehend, he added.”

"We’re just in our infancy here but there are so many opportunities in the future. We’ve talked for a long time about the need to diversify from the parish’s dependence on just oil and gas revenues. In Panama, revenues generated at the canal are being used to build infrastructure. My hope is that can also happen in Plaquemines,” said Buras.

"This trip was a once in a lifetime experience. I never gave the canal much of a thought with regards to Louisiana’s economy or the magnitude of the engineering project. After this trip, I think Louisiana and Plaquemines Parish are set to be on the ground floor of an economic boom,” said Sundstrom.


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