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IFC TO HELP FINANCE NEW PANAMANIAN PORT


Mauricio Perea
(202) 473-7997


WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 10 -- The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has signed a US$60 million financing agreement for Manzanillo International Terminal-Panama, S.A. to develop and operate the first major private sector container and roll-on/roll-off transshipment port in the Caribbean region. The Manzanillo International Terminal will be located on Manzanillo Bay near the Atlantic coast entrance to the Panama Canal and will have an annual capacity of approximately 600,000 twenty-foot equivalent container units. Because of its strategic location, the port will enable shipping lines to serve Latin America and the Caribbean more efficiently by providing them a hub for their regional operations with minimum deviation from current shipping lanes through the Panama Canal. "Few countries are as closely identified with international trade as Panama," according to Mr. Everett J. Santos, Director of IFC's Infrastructure Department. "This project will increase the role of the private sector in the provision of tra
nsportation services and will have a significant positive impact on Panama's role in international trade. The expansion of trade in the Americas will increase the demand for terminals such as Manzanillo. In addition, by increasing competition in this market, the project is expected to lower shipping costs in the region." The total cost of the project is estimated at US$111 million. IFC is providing loans totaling up to US$25 million for its own account and will arrange syndicated loans of up to US$35 million with international financial institutions, which are expected to include ABN AMRO Bank N.V., General Electric Capital Corporation, and Transamerica Leasing Inc. Manzanillo International Terminal is being developed by Manzanillo International Terminal, Inc., a Panamanian corporation owned by Motores Internacionales, S.A., and SSA Panama, Inc., a Panamanian corporation owned by an affiliate of Stevedoring Services of America. IFC is a member of the World Bank Group and is the leading multilateral source of
equity and loan finance for private sector projects in developing countries.