Panama Colon Container Port (PCCP), a consortium of Asian developers, has received an approval from the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) to build a $600m container terminal at the Atlantic entrance of the Panama Canal.

The new four-berth terminal will be capable of accommodating container vessels of up to 18,000teu and will handle two million teu of container per year.

PCCP is also in the final phase of negotiations with one of the leading terminal operators for the operation of the 92-acre terminal.

Jones Lang LaSalle is acting as development advisor to the consortium.

Head of Jones Lang LaSalle Ports Airports and Global Infrastructure (PAGI) Group John Carver said that trans-shipment terminals will have a significant impact on the new Panama Canal era.

"Too many seaports do not currently, and may never, have the harbour depth required to take advantage of the trend towards Post and Super-Post Panamax vessels," Carver said.

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"PCCP is the first terminal to be engineered specifically for the expanded Panama Canal and will provide a critical new link in the global supply chain, further enhancing Panama’s already strategic designation as one of the world’s primary global transshipment hubs."

Out of the four terminals, two will be built for Super Post-Panamax vessels, one will be used for Post-Panamax vessels while a 522ft berth will be used for multipurpose and breakbulk vessels.

The terminal will also have a 36,000teu container yard and space for 800 reefer slots.

Construction of the new terminal is scheduled to start in summer this year and is expected to be completed in late 2014.

The Panama Canal is currently undergoing a $5.2bn expansion to facilitate an increase in traffic flow and to accommodate the next generation of Super Post-Panamax vessels.

The new terminal will act as a trans-shipment centre, reducing some of the pressure from the US East and Gulf Coast ports, South America and the Caribbean, which will not be capable of handling such large vessels.

The new PCCP terminal is designed to allow Super Post-Panamax and other vessels to transit through the new locks, and also transfer their cargo to and from smaller container ships capable of serving existing ports of call.

Jones Lang LaSalle’s Project Development Services group is planning to float tender for the initial dredging and related marine construction work soon.