On Friday evening, Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano won Personality of the Year at the 2016 Seatrade Awards. The ceremony, which took place in London's Guildhall, gathered more than 300 distinguished guests from the international shipping and maritime community.
Hosted by Seatrade Maritime Review, the prestigious Seatrade Awards are presented annually to honor individuals who have made major contributions to the shipping industry. This year, an independent panel of judges, chaired by the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) Secretary-General Kitack Lim, selected finalists for the 13 award categories, including Safety at Sea and Innovation in Ship Operations, among others.
The Seatrade Personality Award-sponsored by Class NK, a ship classification society-honors outstanding personal achievement in the global maritime industry. Past winners of the Seatrade Personality Award include former IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu, and Navios Maritime Holdings Inc. Chairman and CEO Angeliki Frangou.
"Thank you all in Seatrade for selecting me for this award. I humbly accept this very significant recognition on behalf of the Panama Canal workforce who have kept operating the canal efficiently during the nearly nine years since the expansion began," said Mr. Quijano. "I believe this acknowledgement is also for the 40,000 expansion workers that executed the work- from the planning, to the engineering to field personnel, but just as important to the Panamanian people who overwhelmingly made the decision through a national referendum back in 2006. This has truly been a team effort."
"I would also like to take a moment to thank our customers who have kept us as a preferred route throughout this time," he added.
This year marks a significant period for the Panama Canal, which has worked diligently for years to expand the waterway to better serve its valued customers. Mr. Quijano has worked for the Canal since 1975. In 2006, he was named Executive Vice President of the Engineering Department, in charge of the Expansion Program, the largest project at the Canal since its original construction. He was then appointed Administrator and CEO of the Panama Canal in 2012. On June 26, 2016, Mr. Quijano will oversee the inauguration of the Expanded Canal, which will impact not only the maritime industry itself, but global commerce as a whole.