Panama's largest port, which was purchased by a China-based company, started construction of its expansion phase on Wednesday.
Margarita Island Port, Panama's largest port, was purchased by China's Landbridge Group Co last year. State-owned China Communication Construction Corp (CCCC), the world's largest company in the infrastructure and engineering sector, is doing the construction work.
The Port is on Panama Canal's Atlantic side, and situated in the country's Colón Free Trade Zone.
It handles more than billion in trade annually, playing a pivotal role in the transport of goods from the Atlantic to the Pacific, according to a report of the US-based trumpet.com.
Four new specialized berths will be added for containers at the port when the expansion is completed, taking capacity to 5 million 20-foot equivalent units per year and meeting current and future demand.
The Port will become the "throat" of key shipping lanes, bridging China and North America as well as South America, Ye Cheng, chairman at Landbridge Group Co, told the Global Times on Thursday.
It will create at least 2,000 jobs in Panama - 800 for the construction period and 1,200 when the new capacity enters service, Ye added.
In recent years, the number of Chinese companies present in Panama has been growing mainly in the infrastructure sector, such as the construction of roads and water utilities, said Wang Weihua, permanent representative of China's Office of Commercial Development in Panama.