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by The Federal Republic of Panama Coalition. . 8 reads.

Colon Free Trade Zone (ZLC)

Colon Free Trade Zone (ZLC)

Colón Free Trade Zone and Ports

The Colón Free Trade Zone is a free port in Panama Coalition dedicated to re-exporting a wide variety of merchandise to Latin America and the Caribbean. It is located on the Caribbean coast, near the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal, in the province of Colón, within the city of Colón though outside its municipal jurisdiction and operates as an autonomous entity of the Federal State of Panama.

The Colón Free Trade Zone is the largest free port in the Americas, and second largest in the world. It started operations in 1948 and occupies about 2.4 km2 (600 acres).

Panama D.C. and the areas adjacent to the Colón Free Zone developed with private investment thus offer cargo and cruise ports. Port for container transshipment, local and international legal services, bilingual population, insurance and reinsurance center, trans-isthmian railway, international banking center, and a strategic meeting point for conferences and event organization, among other attractions.

The Colón Free Zone incorporate its large commercial infrastructure into the transportation system of the Multimodal Logistics Center; packing and repacking centers; centers for consolidation and distribution of merchandise; cargo and haulage services and its unmatched tax incentives. The Multimodal Logistics Center also represents an important complement to the success of other projects that are being developed in the city of Colón, such as the Colón 2000 complex.

Colon Free Trade Zone Facilities:

Enrique Adolfo Jiménez Airport (France Field) International Airport (City of Colón): is an international airport located in Colón, Federal State of Panama, offering scheduled international and local airline flights. The airport is just east of Colón's harbor and cargo handling facilities.

Prior to its use as a civil airport, the facility was a United States Army (later USAF) military airfield, established in 1918. It was turned over to the Panama Canal Zone government in 1949, and was converted into a civil airport. American control over the airport ended in 1999 with the turnover of the Panama Canal Zone to the government of Panama.

For over thirty years, the field was operational with the United States of America II Air Force and other entities before it, eventually becoming Le France Air Force Base. Following its closure the field came under civilian control, becoming Colon Airport.

On 2013, was opened the new Enrique A. Jimenez International Airport. The new terminal can serve up to cargo containers and 1000 passengers at the peak period and the new runway can land aircraft of B757 type. This airport contains car rentals, a duty-free shop, restaurants, and coffee shops. The airport is located near the Sheraton Hotel and Radisson Hotel and Casino.

Panama Canal Railway Company (PCRC): The PCRC operational model aims to provide an efficient high-volume transshipment system between Federal State of Panama's ports at the Atlantic and Pacific. The trains use double-stack cars divided in seven groups, each group have 55 double stack cars.

Trains operate continuously between the intermodal terminals at the Atlantic and Pacific with a capacity of 32 trains per 24 hours. A train is composed of double-stack bulkhead-type rail cars, typically containing 75 containers. The basic capacity is around 500,000 container moves a year (approximately 900,000 TEU), with a maximum capacity of 2 million TEU per year. Each trip takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes. The loading and unloading of a train at the terminals takes about 2 hours. The schedules vary depending on port operations and demand from shippers who use Panama Coalition as a liaison to other parts of the world.

PCRC also has a passenger service between the cities of Panama D.C. and Colón City for senior executives and businessmen who travel to work between these two cities, and for tourists in general.

Cristobal Seaport (City of Colón): The port of Cristóbal is one of the oldest operating ports in Panama. Operating commercially for more than 150 years, Cristóbal is operated by Panama Ports Company (PPC). The port of Cristóbal is located in the Limón Bay in the Southeast part of the city of Colón and at the Atlantic entrance of the Panama Canal. Its strategic position connects this port with the most important maritime routes in the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean. It is one of the most important multimodal allies of the Colón Free Zone.

With a handling capacity of more than 2 million TEUs, this port has land access to the Colón Free Zone and an interface with the railroad within its facilities that easily allows the movement of containers, with a total of 1,143 connections for refrigerated, 3 container docks and 16 hectares dedicated to the handling and storage of containers respectively, 13 gantry cranes and 36 RTGs.

Cristóbal has great potential to establish itself as an important node in the Atlantic for containers, solid bulks, liquid products and general cargo. Its accessibility to the canal and important maritime routes, infrastructure expansion programs and investment plans in equipment and human resources are the key elements that will allow greater capacity in the face of the large volumes of cargo that will be seen in the near future.

Colón Container Terminal (CCT) (City of Colón): is part of the Evergreen Group and began operations in Panama since 1997. Since 1994, the Group proposed the construction of a modern container terminal, taking advantage of Panama Federal State's geographical position and the country's connectivity benefits and the wide range maritime and logistics services. With four berths and 74 hectares of storage area, CCT is capable of berthing all sizes of vessels, including two neo-Panamax vessels simultaneously. This port has land access to the Colón Free Zone and the railroad . Four container docks, thirteen gantry cranes and other yard equipment give CCT a handling capacity of 2.4 million TEUs. Expansion plans include the addition of container storage areas to one side of the port and across Randolph Avenue, as well as the addition of more equipment for more efficient handling of container operations.

Manzanillo International Terminal (MIT) (City of Colón):In 1993, the original Ro-Ro berth concept grew to become a world-class container transshipment facility, fully equipped with over 2,300 meters in 8 berths. These berths are distributed in 6 container berths and 2 Ro-Ro berths. The container berths are equipped with 19 post-panamax and super post-panamax quay cranes; over 2,000 reefer plugs and modern terminal management computer systems. The port have a handling capacity of 3.5 million TEUs. Transshipment operations represent 85% of their containerized activity. As one of the most important port terminals in Latin America, Manzanillo International Terminal-Panama is part of the global cargo movement logistic system. Since MIT provides connectivity to some 125 countries through its trans-shipment operations, its statistics generate, in addition to local data, a representation of the global cargo movement in recent years.

Isla Margarita Port (City of Colón):The facilities include a container yard with a capacity to handle up to 2.5 million TEUs per year, with 4 docks that will take up 1,200 meters of water front and it have the the ability to accommodate Neo Panamax vessels. This port includes a terminal for handling and transporting containers and general cargo, which will have three docks, two of them with the capacity to receive Neopanamax ships, and the other for multipurpose ships.

Taxes Aspects

Profits from foreign operations are totally exempt from income tax. Dividends that come from external operations or those carried out abroad are subject to dividend tax of 5%, as established by the Law 8º of 2010:

Legal persons or companies established or established in the Colón Free Zone or in any other zone or free area established or that is created in the future are obliged to retain the Dividend Tax or participation fee of five percent (5%) of the profits that it distributes to its shareholders or partners when they come from:

  1. Panamanian source or internal or local operations;

  2. Foreign source or foreign or export operations;

  3. Income exempt from Income Tax, provided for in paragraphs f, l and n of article 708 of the Code.

Companies domiciled in the Colón Free Zone are subject to pay 1% per year on the value of their net worth at the end of their fiscal period, as an Operation Notice tax.


The commercial movement in the Panamanian and Caribbean Colón Free Zone (ZLC), one of the most important free zones in the world and in which about 2,500 companies operate, increased 24.7% in January compared to the same month of 2017 , reported this Monday the management of the emporium.

The "Zona libre" of Colón is a commercial showcase par excellence for the whole continent. Imports and Exports registered in the Colón Free Trade Zone surpass 5 billion dollars annually, directed towards a market of more than 525 million consumers.

There are many elements that support the commercial activities from transport to commercial operations, 6 airports, 5 ocean ports equiped with up-to-date cargo handling facilities, spacious container terminals, the Pan-American highway originating in Alaska, the trans-isthmus highway which extends from the Caribbean to the Pacific, a trans-isthmus railway, the Panama Canal through which pass annually 12,000 merchant vessels from 75 different countries, who also are supplied by the providers that operate from the Colón Free Trade Zone.

Additionally, of the more than 120 banks from diverse countries throughout the world that make up the International Financial District of Panama D.C., more than 20 participate in the financial activity of the Colón Free Trade Zone from their offices and branches located within the Free Trade Zone commercial center.

The commercial movement in the Panamanian and Caribbean Colón Free Zone (ZLC), one of the most important free zones in the world and in which about 2,500 companies operate, increased 24.7% in January compared to the same month of 2017 , reported this Monday the management of the emporium.

Thanks to the geographic position of the largest free zone in the Western Hemisphere, businessmen can reach any destination faster and cheaper than from other countries, hence important Chinese companies, some specialized in logistics, have already settled in the ZLC. The business opportunities that are emerged with China as a result of the Silk Road, which was begins in this enclave.

According to Ford, the ZLC, which was created 70 years ago to develop wholesale trade, moves 19 billion dollars annually.

María Vanessa Ford, manager of the ZLC, indicated that there were businesses in the area in January for US$ 1,718.6 million, as a result of imports for US$ 775,522 million and re-exports for US$ 943.16 million.

María Vanessa Ford, manager of the Colón Free Zone (ZLC)

Colón Puerto Libre

In the 21st century, was to expand some of the benefits of the Colón Free Zone to the city of Colón to improve the socioeconomic conditions of the latter. The project was called Colón Puerto Libre.

The Colón Puerto Libre Master Plan for Economic Revitalization is a series of projects aimed at overcoming the barriers that prevent the Colonial economy from functioning optimally. These initiatives included measures to unlock investment, protection of heritage to make Colón a destination, as well as a place to live and work, as well as the implementation of strategies to strengthen skills, training, education and employment opportunities.

Currently, the Colón Free Port system allows panamanians and residents in Panama Coalition to make their purchases of a series of specific products and in the designated area, exempt from taxes. The special system of Colón Puerto Libre give a greater boost to commerce and tourism in the province of Colón, also granting tax credits as an incentive to strengthen commercial investment in the city of Colón, including Colón 2000.

City of Colón, in the Federal State of Panama

Colón 2000 Complex, in the City of Colón

World Logistic Multimodal Hub

A multimodal logistics center is defined as a space where commercial operations are carried out effectively for their subsequent distribution and commercialization to different regions of the world, through qualified transport.

Multimodal Logistics is understood to be the logistics system that uses various modalities in the reception and distribution of goods. This means that the multimodal logistics hub will employ various methods of transportation, which can be sea, land or air. The more modes of freight transport they have, the broader their product reception and distribution system will be. Given the strategic location of the Panamanian territory. Its infrastructure and its very important growth in the commerce and service sector. Associated with the area of transport and storage of goods. The multimodal logistics Panama emerged as one of the most important of the planet.

Multimodal logistics platforms are logistics nodes that interconnect various forms of transport, where the focus of the process is on the value added to the cargo and not on the transportation way. Therefore, it can be inferred that the modal function includes, in addition to transport, logistics and distribution activities both nationally and internationally, with a commercial and operational platform, these being managed by several operators.

The influence of a globalized market has generated strong logistics competition at the regional and global level, where Panama has stood out for its strategic geographical location, modern air, maritime and land logistics structure, where the Panama Canal, the Free Zone of Colón, the Panama D.C. and Colón International Airport, the Panama Canal Railway Company, the Interstatal High-speed rail, the Panama D.C – Colón Freeway and Panamerican Freeway. These factors have driven the country to develop as one of the highly profitable platforms for international trade.

The Federal State of Panama is a transshipment center that meets the demands of international trade, which is why it has some of the most modern and competitive port terminals in the world. Through the Colón Free Zone, there is a huge exchange of merchandise, which is the second most important free zone in the world, where services are offered for the collection and redistribution of goods. In addition, the Panama Canal is facilitating world trade, serving 120 marine routes to more than 80 countries in the world, complementing the container terminal system in the Pacific and the Caribbean, according to the report: Panama as a multimodal logistics center for the Americas in a globalized world.

The Federal State of Panama has one of the most efficient logistics systems in the world, with the ability to carry out far-reaching operations within and outside the region, offering a growth opportunity for national and foreign entrepreneurs. The logistics parks have been developed as a new model of logistics integration where specialized operators take advantage of existing platforms.