A new vessel set sail at Port Panama City on Wednesday on its first of many trips to Progreso, Mexico, on the northwest coast of the Yucatan Peninsula.
The 330-foot container ship “Juan Diego” is the final piece of a three-year fleet upgrade for Panama City shipping company Linea Peninsular, which sends shipments back and forth from Port Panama City to Progreso twice a week.
“This is where we do most of our business, here in Panama City,” said David Humphreys, vice president of Linea Peninsular, which moved its headquarters from New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The company’s upgrade began in 2012 and transitioned its fleet from older, smaller ships to newer, larger ones. In addition to its Panama City routes, the company also ships containers between Houston and Progreso.
Alex King, operations manager at Port Panama City, said Linea’s partnership has established the most active container trade with Mexico of any U.S. port.
Linea is the only container line that regularly calls Port Panama City, King said, and also conducts the highest frequency of shipments of the port’s five main shipping carriers.
“Panama City, we have the highest container volume of any port to Mexico,” King said. “Having the most active connection to the Yucatan, the highest frequency (of container shipments) to the Yucatan ... having Linea here it’s just a tremendous asset for the community.”
The new ship Juan Diego, along with its sister ships Guadalupe and Progreso, have the capability of carrying 400 20-foot equivalent units and about 400 20-foot containers.