Panama Canal Authority

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The Panama Canal Authority (Spanish: Autoridad del Canal de Panamá, or ACP) is the agency of the government of Panama responsible for the operation and management of the Panama Canal. The ACP took over the administration of the Panama Canal from the Panama Canal Commission (the joint US-Panama agency that managed the Canal) on December 31, 1999, when the canal was handed over from the United States to Panama.


The Panama Canal Authority is established under Title XIV of the National Constitution, and has exclusive charge of the operation, administration, management, preservation, maintenance, and modernisation of the Canal. It is responsible for the operation of the canal in a safe, continuous, efficient, and profitable manner.[1]

The Organic Law of the Panama Canal Authority, passed on June 11, 1997, provides the legal framework for the organisation and operation of the canal.[2]


Panama Canal Authority logo

Because of its unique nature, the ACP has financial autonomy, as well as ownership of the canal's assets.

The ACP is headed by an administrator and deputy administrator, supervised by a board of directors. The administrator is the legal representative of the authority, and is responsible for the implementation of policies decided upon by the board. The administrator is appointed for a term of seven years; he/she may serve at most two terms. The current administrator is Alberto Alemán Zubieta, who is in his second term.

Administration Building of the Panama Canal.

The board of directors is made up as follows:

  • Nine members are appointed by the president of Panama; these appointments require the approval of the Cabinet Council and a majority of the legislative branch.
  • One director is appointed by the legislative branch, at its sole discretion.
  • The chair of the board, who is also the Minister of State for Canal Affairs, is appointed directly by the president; the Minister is also a full member of the Cabinet Council.

The Panama Canal is defined by law to be an inalienable patrimony of the Republic of Panama; it may therefore not be sold, assigned, mortgaged, or otherwise encumbered or transferred.

External links


  1. ^ ACP Overview, from the Panama Canal Authority
  2. ^ Organic Law, from the Panama Canal Authority