The Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistics Institute is developing a unique research and education center in Panama focused on logistics and trade. The strategic goals for the center are to increase Panama's logistics performance and to aid in developing the logistics and trade capabilities that will enable Panama to become "The" trade hub for the Americas.
Realizing Panama's Potential
U.S. trade with Latin America is growing faster than U.S. trade with Asia. The U.S. has set a goal of doubling exports over the next five years and a dramatic increase in U.S. exports to Latin America will be necessary in order to achieve it. The small market size of the individual Latin American countries make it imperative that the U.S. develop a hub in Latin America to facilitate marketing of the various countries while providing value-add services as well as means to transship and distribute product. These factors along with a proliferation of trade agreements among North and South American countries place Panama at the center of a large and fast growing trading block.
To answer this growth, the completion of the Panama Canal expansion project in 2014 will expand the number and size of ships able to cross through the canal while dramatically altering the cost and time dynamics of global trade networks. In addition to being a critical linkage in these networks, Panama has the potential to be the hub for many of these networks serving the Americas, Asia and Europe. This provides an opportunity for U.S. ports to partner with Panama in developing more competitive trade networks. However, making a value case to companies for using Panama requires a combination of extensive data and information related to Panama's logistics network together with analytics to demonstrate how using this network has advantages over alternative trade routes. It also requires the technology and human capital to improve Panama's logistics performance from the current World Bank rating of 51st to something comparable to the Netherlands and Singapore.
The Georgia Tech Panama Logistics Innovation & Research Center is an initiative between the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (under the leadership of the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistics Institute), SENACYT (Secretaría Nacional de Ciencia, Tecnologia e Innovación) and Gobierno Nacional República de Panamá.