Tag: panama

December 2016 Flags of convenience

Flags of convenience


A flag of convenience is the flag of a vessel for which the actual property and control are located in a country other than that of the flag under which it is registered. For the owners of these vessels, the benefits are numerous,[1] including in the field of taxation, of security or labor law.

It is a phenomenon related to globalization. In 2015, they represented 71% of the total tonnage of the merchant navy. [][2] The world fleet operated under 152 pavilions. Three of these pavilions, Panama, Liberia and Marshall Islands accounted for 42.8% of the total capacity; either, 710 million tonnes (Mt) and 12 000 flags of some 50 000 vessels navigating the oceans. Panama dominates with 20.7% of world tonnage with[3] 343 Mt and 6 745 ships. Followed by Liberia with 1990 Mt and 2 996 ships and Marshall Islands with 168.6 Mt and 2 345 ships.[4]

None of those countries are among the major owners. The real and principal owners are Greece, Japan , China and Germany, which accounted in 2015 a capacity of 864 Mt and 16 752 vessels. Greece is largest owner with 308 Mt and 4 252 ships, mainly of bulk carriers and oil tankers. Japan comes in second with 242 Mt and 4135 Ships and China with 190 Mt and the 4720 ships.  [5]


This disproportion between the ship’s country of registration  and of countries owners is symptomatic of a market which is not efficient (Market Failure ). Flags of convenience and tax havens have no economic impact to added value of services, products or the development of markets.

It is a vicious circle, because the oligopolistic structure of the industry encourages imitation in order to protect market shares; the initiative of one will … Lire la suite


The Panama canal


On June 26, the Government of Panama announced, with great fanfare, the completion of the expansion of the Panama canal. It was a historic event for this small Central America country. The crowd was awaiting the traverse of the first container ship, a Cosco ship from Asia, measuring 300 meters long, 48.25 metres wide and capable of carrying 9 500 containers (TEUS): two times the maximum capacity of the old locks.

62 international delegations were invited to listen to the speech by President Juan Carlos Varela Rodríguez. The event reflected the project: the Panama canal plays a strategic role in international maritime transport. For the population of Panama, expectations are high, since this project will hopefully revive the country’s economy and restore the market share lost over time to the Suez canal.

Although the promotional campaign of the Panamanian Government is fully justified, studies on the impact of the project leave many elements imprecise and uncertain. The complexity of the world situation and the state of international trade which has evolved in recent years may explain it.

According to research conducted jointly by The Boston Consulting Group and C.H. Robinson, as much as 10 percent of container traffic between East Asia and the U.S. could shift from West Coast ports to East Coast ports by the year 2020. Other research also suggests that the expansion of the canal will impact the trade of bulk, especially between Asia and America.

However, several market conditions are necessary for the achievement of these forecasts. The following text presents an analysis of these conditions.

The role of Panama

A strategic location

The Panama canal plays a strategic and undeniable role in global transportation. It significantly reduces the distance required for the transport of goods. Transportation costs are substantially reduced, as are the price … Lire la suite