The Meadowlands Regional Chamber’s International Business Council sent a delegation of New Jersey business leaders to Panama in October for a fact-finding trade mission in a country that is critically integral to the global economy.
The delegation collaborated with their Panamanian partner, The American Chamber of Commerce in Panama, to arrange 35 “matchmaking” meetings between the New Jersey delegation and representatives from local businesses in Panama. The interests of each participating organization was carefully assessed when arranging these meetings so that each individual delegate could scope out potential business opportunities in Panama—which has the second largest number of offshore-registered companies in the world after Hong Kong.
The delegation met with businesses from a diversity of industries, including logistics, real estate, construction and legal. Panama has been a mainstay in logistics since the Panama Canal opened in 1914 and, more recently, its service sector is rapidly growing as well.
As part of the trade mission, The American Chamber of Commerce hosted the delegation for a networking reception event which was attended by representatives from the U.S. Embassy in Panama, local media and private companies.
The delegation also enjoyed the opportunity to meet with representatives from Langan Engineering, which is a Lyndhurst-based business and fellow Meadowlands Regional Chamber member. The firm has a regional office in Panama and has been integral in many large-scale development projects in Panama, including the U.S. Embassy Complex in Panama.
WeiserMazar offered the delegation a sponsorship grant that helped to facilitate the matchmaking sessions, which took place on both the East and West Coasts of the Central American country. The delegation stayed in Panama City and the meetings took place in various parts of the country including the city, Colón Free Trade Zone and Panama Pacifico.
The following New Jersey organizations participated in the trade mission trip:
- Choose New Jersey
- Fischer Porter & Thomas, P.C.
- Ivy Realty
- G. Petrucci Co., Inc.
- Langan Engineering
- Meadowlands Regional Chamber
- NJ Business Action Center
The Panama Canal has long established Panama as a key gateway point for global trade, and it is currently undergoing a $5.25 billion expansion that will double its capacity and allow for the transit of larger vessels through the canal.
And though the canal is 5,000 miles away, New Jersey’s economy stands to benefit greatly from this vital development as it could gain shares of global commerce that are currently going to West Coast ports. To accommodate the anticipated growth, The Port Authority of NY & NJ is currently working on $743.3 million rebuilding project to raise the roadbed within the existing arch of the Bayonne Bridge allow larger container ships to pass underneath and gain access to Port Newark.
Some studies project that this expansion could potentially help Port Newark once again reclaim itself as the largest port in the world by activity, a title it last held in 1985.
The group went to the Panama Canal and watched 100,000 tons of cargo pass through on four large-scale vessels. As a testament to the connection between the two economies, one of the vessels they saw was the YM New Jersey which was coming from Port Newark en route to the Pacific.
The Meadowlands Regional Chamber’s International Business Council will continue to grow the relationship with Panama and will possibly send another trade mission there in the future, as well as host delegations from international businesses who have a presence in Panama. The group is also exploring other international locations for future trade missions.
If you are interested in learning more about trade missions, please contact Joe Garavente from the Meadowlands Regional Chamber at JGaravente@meadowlands.org or (201) 939-0707.