Panama growth attracts renters

By Murray Pollok14 October 2008

Panama is attracting interest from domestic and foreign rental companies as it invests heavily in its infrastructure, including the Panama Canal.

The widening and expansion of the canal is a US$5 billion project that will run until 2014, providing contractors and rental companies with a lucrative potential market, particularly for large machines.

Augusto Boyd, managing director of Commercial de Motores (CDM), a Volvo dealer and rental company in Panama, told IRN that "The economy is very good. There are many things happening, including the Panama Canal project...I see a strong demand for heavy machines, above 50 t."

Clarisa Chen, CDM's executive director, said the construction market is growing in other sectors as well - high rise buildings, earthmoving and roads; "so while there will be some fall in demand when the canal is finished in 2014, there will still be other projects too, especially in tourist infrastructure."

Gary Bernardez, president of US-based Ameco, the enormous equipment rental business owned by Fluor, told IREN that "Panama is a high priority [for us] and we have moved quickly into that market given the infrastructure and canal work going on there."

Mr Bernardez, who highlighted opportunities in other Latin/South American areas, including Mexico, Peru and Chile, said; "We do see long term rental of large equipment in Mexico and Panama given the infrastructure focus in these countries."

The October issue of IRN includes a report on the Latin American rental market.

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