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HomeNewsCaribbean NewsCosta Rica - Panama inaugurate innovative border crossing backed by the IDB

Costa Rica – Panama inaugurate innovative border crossing backed by the IDB

COSTA RICA / PANAMA – The presidents of Costa Rica, Rodrigo Chaves, and of Panama, Laurentino Cortizo, on Tuesday, February 20, 2024, inaugurated the Integrated Control Center in Paso Canoas, Costa Rica, which will process the crossing of goods and people entering the country from Panama.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) provided technical and financial support for the design and construction of this modern and innovate facility, setting the standard for other countries in Latin America.

This border crossing benefits carriers, trade operators, and exporters and importers from both countries and other parts of Central America. It also benefits the over 15,000 people who live in the provinces on either side of the border, persons crossing from one country to the other for tourism or other activities, and the border control authorities of both countries.

IDB Integration and Trade Sector Manager Fabrizio Opertti said this type of border crossings “bring down logistical costs, one of the bottlenecks for trade and integration, and reduce wait times and costs for foreign trade operators, all of which makes Costa Rica, Panama and Central America more competitive.”

The IDB’s general manager for Central America, Panama, Mexico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Tomás Bermúdez, said “we are excited to support such a strategic project, which both improves infrastructure and optimizes the border post’s processes and processing capacity, boosting the productivity of both countries and of Central America as a whole.”

Building and launching Paso Canoas required a $33 million investment, and it is the first border crossing to be opened under Costa Rica’s Border Integration Program, funded by a $100 million loan from the IDB. On the Panamanian side, a parallel program is underway to handle Costa Rican exports and Panamanian imports at a single control center.

Paso Canoas consists of an integrated control center, with digitized and optimized processes, and a dual-facility system where the two countries carry out joint and simultaneous control at a single point. This arrangement slashes average cargo transit times from hours to minutes, reduces passenger transit times by 50 percent, lowers transportation costs, and promotes integration.

The project is also an important model of how to deepen regional integration, which is one of the pillars of the IDB’s new “America at the Center” program for bolstering integration, resilience, and social development in Central America and the Dominican Republic.

The new facility is unique in that its migration and border control work is located 4.3 kilometers from the borderline to respect the space of the binational city of Paso Canoas. It has a 150,700-square-foot roofed area where customs, immigration, agricultural, sanitary, police, transportation and logistical support authorities from both countries carry out their tasks.

The border crossing facility has an EDGE sustainability certification, meaning it uses the most effective ways to reduce energy, water and resources in building materials.

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