October 11, 2014 / 12:40 AM / 4 years ago

Hutchison Whampoa to invest $110 mln in top Panama port expansion

PANAMA CITY, Oct 10 (Reuters) - The Panama Ports Company (PPC), a unit of Hong Kong-based conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa Ltd, will invest about $110 million through 2015 to expand Panama’s Balboa Port, the company’s top executive told reporters on Friday.

The expansion will add loading and unloading space to the Pacific coast facility as well as wire the port’s fuel-burning crane zone with electricity, said PPC Chief Executive Officer Aitor Ibarreche.

“We expect this project will allow us to boost capacity to some 5 million containers,” up 11 percent compared with the port’s current capacity, said Ibarreche.

He added that the port’s expansion is designed to coincide with the ongoing expansion of the Central American country’s namesake canal, a nearly $7 billion project that is expected to be completed by the beginning of 2016 after numerous delays.

PPC operates both the Balboa Port as well as the Cristobal Port on the Caribbean coast.

Hutchison Whampoa Ltd is controlled by Asia’s richest man, Li Ka-shing. (Reporting by Elida Moreno; Writing by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Ken Wills)

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