On December 3 local time, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela paid a visit to the New Panamax Locks on the Panama Canal.
Upon the arrival of Xi and his wife Ms. Peng Liyuan, President Juan Carlos Varela and First Lady Ms. Lorena Castillo were ready to welcome the two distinguished Chinese guests at the parking place. Close by, COSCO SHIPPING ROSE, a fully loaded container ship under COSCO SHIPPING, was waiting to pass the lock at Gate No.1. The two heads of state and their spouses then had a photo in front of the vessel with great delight.
COSCO SHIPPING ROSE had departed from Qingdao, China on October 1 this year, sailed across the Pacific and then into the Atlantic after going through the Panama Canal, and reached three U.S. ports respectively. Now, it was on its journey back to China through the Canal.
On that day, the vessel was fully dressed with bunting, with a red banner flying high at one side of the ship which read, “May China-Panama Friendship Last Forever. May World Trade Prosper Always. May President Xi Jinping a Complete Successful Visit to Panama”.
Capt. Xu Lirong, Chairman and Party Secretary of COSCO SHIPPING, reported the basic information of COSCO SHIPPING ROSE, as well as the operations of COSCO SHIPPING in Panama and Central America to the two heads of state. The two couples waved to the ship crew, while the crew members lined up on board and waved the national flags of the two countries to convey their greetings to the former.
Xi talked to the captain of COSCO SHIPPING ROSE on an inter-phone, asking about their work and life on board and extending his kind wishes to the entire crew.
Xi said that he’s glad to talk to the captain and crew members of COSCO SHIPPING ROSE at the Panama Canal, and hoped that they can take well advantage of the Canal to continuously improve the logistic transportation and make greater contributions to the development of China’s shipping industry and world trade prosperity. Meanwhile, he also expressed his cordial wishes to the crew members, wishing them a firm success at work and in life, and a safe journey toward home.
Captain Wu Wenfeng of COSCO SHIPPING ROSE and the crew members were excited to get the message from President Xi Jinping. They thanked the president for his care and greetings, saying that they will keep his word in mind and contribute to the development of China-foreign economic and trade exchanges through down-to-earth actions.
After listening to Xu’s report and talking to the captain of COSCO SHIPPING ROSE, President Xi Jinping made highly positive comments about it.
After that, the two heads of state and their spouses visited the lock control tower to learn about the management and operation of the Panama Canal. On the outdoor platform of the control room, they looked down on the new locks and got a panoramic view of the Canal. President Varela briefed Xi on the past, present and future development of the Panama Canal.
Then, they went into the control room. President Xi Jinping pressed the lock control button as President Varela invited. As the lock was opened, COSCO SHIPPING ROSE navigated slowly through it. The control room was then burst with applause.
A moment later, the two heads of state walked out of the control room. COSCO SHIPPING ROSE sounded its horns to pay tribute to both presidents, and the crew members lined up on board to wave farewell. The vessel sailed slowly into the next lock.
The Panama Canal is an important international waterway connecting the Pacific with the Atlantic. As one of the major clients of the Canal, COSCO SHIPPING has nearly 300 cargo ships navigating through the Canal each year, or 4 to 5 ships on average each week, including container ships, dry bulk carriers, and oil tankers.
The same day, COSCO SHIPPING PEONY, another container ship under COSCO SHIPPING, navigated through the Canal from the Pacific into the Atlantic. The two ships encountered each other at Lake Gatun in the middle section of the Canal.
On the morning of December 3 local time, COSCO SHIPPING ROSE sailed into the lock Agua Clara on the Pacific side.
Also on December 3, President Xi Jinping, together with his Panamanian counterpart Juan Carlos Valera, met with representatives of Chinese and Panamanian entrepreneurs participating in the China-Panama Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum in Panama City. Capt. Xu Lirong was also present at the meeting.
On December 2 local time, the China-Panama Commercial Exposition 2018 was opened in Panama’s capital Panama City. COSCO SHIPPING participated in the expo.
On December 3, Panamanian President Juan Carlos Valera visited the exhibition booth of COSCO SHIPPING, and had cordial talks with Capt. Xu Lirong who had been expecting his arrival at the booth. President Valera spoke highly of the role played by COSCO SHIPPING in promoting China-Panama relations and bilateral economic and trade cooperation.
When he saw the scene in a video that showed the encounter of COSCO SHIPPING ROSE and COSCO SHIPPING PEONY on the Panama Canal that day, he was so pleased that he took a photo with his mobile phone, saying that it was of historical meaning to witness two Neopanamax vessels under the same company sailing through the Canal at the same time .
So far, COSCO SHIPPING has provided container, bulk cargo and oil product shipping service in Panama. Its Central American container shipping business headquarters is based in Panama, which has turned the country into the most important container transit hub that links South America, North America, and the Caribbean Region. In this way, COSCO SHIPPING has established a shipping network with Central America as the center that connects Far East, Europe, North America and South America, making positive contributions to promoting world trade development and China-Panama economic and trade cooperation.