In the News from Panama

Is High-Speed Ferry Answer to Panama Connections?

As Panama City grows into a modern metropolis, transportation connections are improving to all parts of the country, including the fast-growing west coast. Local airlines are expanding air service and a new bridge over the Panama Canal is in the works, including an extension of the metro, which will make it easier for capital residents to escape to Coronado and the other beach resorts.

But there might be other ways to shorten the trip, including the use of noticeably old technology. The Bulletin Panama has floated the idea of a high-speed ferry to provide service from the capital to the west coast.

Trade and maritime executives contacted by the site agreed “at least the initiative deserves a feasibility study by the government.”

There are plenty of examples around the world of ferry service providing an alternative form of transportation, including Buenos Aires and Montevideo and between Gourock and Dunoon, in Scotland, notes article’s author, Franklin Castrellón

Planners have also been discussing a ferry service connecting Washington D.C. and northern Virginia. A 2015 study found there is a “sustainable market” for a passenger service, Castrellón writes.

There is no evidence in the article that anybody has actually proposed the idea of a high-speed ferry service from Panama City, but it is an intriguing idea. There is plenty of dock space available, including Punta Pacifica, and a ferry would be a relatively low-cost option for travelers in both directions.

He apparently asked the President of the Panama Chamber of Shipping Rommel Troetsch about the idea. The high-speed ferry “is a very interesting option that should be available to citizens, due to problems with urban traffic and the large number of people from West Panama who work in Panama City,” he said.

Consultant Rodolfo Sabonge also waded into the issue. He noted the government would likely have to get involved to make a service economically viable. But he agreed the facilities and demand exist. “Undoubtedly, this is an option that deserves to be reviewed by the government,” he told the site.