Before entering into the marketplace of any new part of the world, it is paramount to understand the differences that exist in the Cargo Shipping Industry, as well as the overall culture in general, compared with what you’re used to. Your first step should be selecting a shipping company that is already well educated in this culture, and has a proven track record of reliability and professionalism.
For shipping to Panama and surrounding area, that company is LAC!
Not only are laws written differently, but daily business practices, etiquette, and standards in Panama may vary greatly from what you’re accustomed to. For example, there is a different perception of time-management than with North American business: a key component in this industry. Apart from the potential language barrier, the standards and methods of business communication (oral and written) can be a challenge. RORO vessels have either built-in or shore-based ramps that allow the cargo to be efficiently rolled on and off the vessel when in port. While smaller ferries that operate across rivers and other short distances often have built-in ramps, the term RORO is generally reserved for large oceangoing vessels. The ramps and doors may be located in stern, bow or sides, or any combination thereof.
Other hurdles for doing business in Panama have traditionally included:
Logistics companies and Customs Agents have reported inconsistencies in the application of standards and inefficiencies in the computer systems that are used to carry out the required tasks. Although Panama is the main logistics hub of this region, employers and brokers have pointed out the presence of issues, such as poor management of the SIGA computer system, impacting service and impeding an increase in the competitiveness of Panamanian trade abroad. It is commonly believed that at some point or other, everyone gets held up when they have to deal with customs there.