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AAPA Harbors Seminar Set for Panama

The American Association of Port Authorities will visit Panama for its biennial Harbors, Navigation and Environment Seminar. To be held May 20 through 22 at the Sheraton Panamá Hotel & Convention Center, the event will focus on Environmental Management, Navigation and Port Sustainability.

Since its opening 94 years ago, the Panama Canal has contributed significantly to increasing world trade. The AAPA event will focus on the construction of a third set of locks that will double the capacity of the canal by 2014.

Alberto Alemán Zubieta, the Panama Canal Authority's administrator, will deliver the seminar's keynote address, "Economic impact of the Panama Canal expansion to Panama, Latin America and the Western Hemisphere," following opening remarks by AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle and conference Chairman Sebastian Degens.

"Because it covers such a broad range of dredging and environmental issues of concern to port managers and senior executives, this seminar is always a much anticipated event," said Nagle. "This year we chose to hold the seminar in Panama because of the multi-billion-dollar project underway to expand the canal to handle more and larger ships. This massive undertaking will serve as the backdrop for seminar discussions and tours concerning the impacts of growing trade throughout the Western Hemisphere."

Building on the successful 2006 HN&E seminar in Vancouver, Canada, the 2½-day Panama City seminar will tackle the most pressing issues surrounding the Panama Canal expansion and will provide innovative ideas in managing environmental and navigational issues for future port projects. The program is expected to draw attendees from throughout the Americas who will focus on navigation issues and environmental implications of increased trade, as well as implementing new port sustainability initiatives.

"Preparing for the increased trade volumes we're expecting from the canal expansion and its impact on ports, port communities and the freight transportation infrastructure is important to our members," said Nagle. "In addition to exchanging valuable information and case studies related to the canal's navigation improvements, attendees will have the opportunity to see first-hand the canal expansion work and tour the Cocoli area, where a new set of navigation locks are being built."

The first day's activities will focus on the environmental and other challenges that the canal expansion has presented. The morning's sessions specifically target the expansion project's progress, program control and environmental management operations. During lunch, the discussion will turn to changes in international shipping, as well as ship fleet and trade pattern changes driving, and resulting from, the canal's expansion. During the afternoon sessions, attendees will engage in discussions on dredged material management challenges, and public- and private-sector port developments related to the Panama Canal expansion.

Session topics for the morning of the second day will focus on additional aspects of environmental management for the ports, including ship transit emissions, port development and expansion, ballast water discharges and invasive aquatic species management, and managing the water flows and lock design for the canal project.
After lunch, seminar speakers will turn their focus to port sustainability in a competitive global market, addressing the environmental, financial and social responsibility aspects of maintaining a viable port. The final session of the day will offer participants a tour of the canal's Miraflores locks and museum area, and a look at the operations of the southernmost locks in the Panama Canal.

The seminar's final day will consist of an environmental engineering-focused guided tour of the Cocoli area to see the canal expansion work in progress as it moves toward completion by 2014.

More information about the seminar is available by calling AAPA's Meredith Martino at 703-706-4718, or logging in to www.aapa-ports.org (click on the "Programs & Events" tab).

The hotel is at Via Isreal y Calle 77, San Francisco, Panamá, phone: 011 507-305-5100.

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