Jorge Luis Quijano – New Panama Canal Administrator
Yesterday, engineer Jorge Luis Quijano, with 36 years of experience at the waterway and who has been in charge of key projects such as the Expansion Program, became the third Panamanian Canal Administrator.
Quijano was sworn in as Administrator for a seven-year period before Minister for Canal Affairs and Panama Canal Authority (ACP) Board Chairman, Roberto Roy, and the Board of Directors during a ceremony held yesterday at the Panama Canal Administration Building.
“Today, I assume this responsibility knowing that, together with a broad vision, hard work and determination dreams may come true,” said Quijano before signing the resolution that begins his tenure as head of the ACP, autonomous entity responsible for the operation and management of the waterway.
“The future of the Canal is full of challenges, and they will certainly not be easy. History has taught us that nothing is ever easy with regard to the Canal: its original construction was daunting, it was not easy to regain our sovereignty and the Canal administration, and proving to the world that we could handle it effectively and efficiently” he added.
On March 9, the ACP Board of Directors announced Quijano’s appointment as new Canal Administrator to replace engineer Alberto Alemán Zubieta, who on Monday September 3 completed 16 years at the helm of the Panama Canal.
The ceremony was attended by current and former members of the Board of Directors, including President Ricardo Martinelli, who was Minister for Canal Affairs and Board Chairman between 1999 and 2003.
The new administrator highlighted the Canal´s autonomy, which has been the result of a national consensus and has allowed for the successful management and operation of the waterway. “We will continue to be strict custodians of this management model devised by Panamanians for the benefit of the world maritime commerce and of Panama,” he said.
“On behalf of the men and women who work at the Panama Canal every day, may I reiterate our commitment to continue strengthening the management of this strategic resource while safeguarding the highest standards of accountability, efficiency and transparency,” he added.
Quijano becomes the third Panamanian leader of the waterway. He was preceded by Alberto Alemán Zubieta (1996-2012) and Gilberto Guardia (1990-96), who was the Administrator of the Panama Canal Commission, the U.S. federal agency that operated the Canal until 1999.
“The international maritime community must rest assured of our conviction to strengthen our customer relations while we add value to our services and constantly renew our business proposal ensuring the competitiveness of our route,” said the new Administrator.
About Jorge L. Quijano
Jorge Quijano’s career at the Panama Canal began in December of 1975. He took on different responsibilities until he was appointed Marine Operations Director in 1999 for seven years. Marine Operations is the largest department at the Canal and is directly responsible for the operation and maintenance of the infrastructure and most of the critical equipment of the waterway.
Since 2006, Quijano was responsible for coordinating various aspects of the Panama Canal Expansion Program. For this purpose, he was appointed Engineering and Programs Management Executive Vice President in 2007. In this role, he spearheaded the task of contracting and supervising the implementation of various projects of the Expansion Program, a process that has received international recognition for its transparency as it promotes open competition.
To ease the transition from the outgoing administrator, engineer Quijano served as Deputy Administrator in charge of the ACP since June.
According to the Organic Law of the ACP, Quijano will occupy the position for a seven-year period and he may be elected for a second term by the Board of Directors.
Engineer Manuel Benítez, a professional with 34 years of experience at the Panama Canal, also begins his tenure as Deputy Administrator of the ACP yesterday, after his appointment was made official by the Board of Directors last week.
Press Release, September 5, 2012