The Panama Canal Authority on Tuesday installed its third Panama Canal administrator, Jorge Luis Quijano, an engineer with 36 years of experience at the waterway who has been in charge of key projects such as the expansion program.
Quijano, who succeeded long-time canal Administrator Alberto Aleman Zubieta in that post, was sworn in for a seven-year term during a ceremony held 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," Quijano said before signing the resolution that begins his tenure as head of the authority, the 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 said.
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.
Quijano becomes the third Panamanian leader of the waterway. He was preceded by Aleman, who headed the canal from 1996 to 2012 and oversaw its transition from U.S. to Panamanian control, 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.