Updated 4:59 PM EDT, Fri, Oct 11, 2019

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China Eyes Land Shopping Around Panama Canal

Panama Canal Readies For Planned Expansion

(Photo : Getty Images) A cargo ship makes its way through the Miraflores locks as it crosses the Panama Canal on April 7, 2016 in Panama City, Panama.

Chinese firms want to develop land around the Panama Canal, as Panama plans to open and build infrastructures on the currently unused locations.

"We have been talking to people here in China," Chief Executive Jorge Quijano told Reuters on Monday, adding that China Communications Construction Corp subsidiary China Harbour Engineering Company and China Railway Group have shown interest on the project.

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The Panama Canal Authority plans to turn about 1,200 hectares of land around the waterway into logistics park within the year. Quijano said the canal authority plans to parcel out the land and give concession agreements of up to 40 years. It also plans to grant operating deal for a roll-on, roll-off terminal near the canal; tendering will be put out mid-2017.

Quijano estimated that after the first five years of operation, the land and terminal would magnet an annual revenue of between $100 and $125 million. Overall, the Panama Canal is anticipated to bring in $2.8 billion in revenue this year.

Meanwhile, the move follows as China encourages its firms to invest more in infrastructure overseas as part of its plan to improve global trade links through the "One Belt, One Road" initiative, Asia Times reported.

"There are opportunities there, definitely for some of these Chinese companies to participate as a concessionaire, not just as a contractor to build something, but they can actually bid for the concession and then build," Quijano said.

Chinese firms have been highly investing in key logistics nodes like Piraeues in Greece and Bandar Malaysia. China's COSCO Shipping Corp. has also in the past expressed interest on the Panama Canal.

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