The General Directorate of Merchant Marine, aided by its Unit of Informatics and Telecommunications, has introduced a new feature to its current electronic platform for the registration of vessels. This platform is known as PKI (Public Key Infrastructure). The new feature represents an innovation in the application of economic incentives to newly built ships that are to be registered in the Panamanian Registry. The feature is subject to compliance with the applicable legal requirements.

This new feature gives users clear, real and immediate information. Once the customer has entered the required data for the registration, the system uses elements such as age of the ship, gross tonnage, its site of construction, to determine the percentages of discounts that the vessel is entitled to; the discount can be granted up to 100%, as it has been established by the Law No. 57 of August 6, 2008 “General of Merchant Marine” and by the Resolution No. 106-65-DGMM on Additional Waivers, of September 17, 2014. This new feature abolishes the requirement of applying for discounts through a memorial - which had to be done before the registering of the ship - and the manual calculation of the amounts to be paid, which was conducted by the staff of the Merchant Marine General Directorate. These measures make more equitable the system of granting incentives, as they will no longer be granted at the request of the user, but automatically.

It is important to note that the implementation of this new tool goes far beyond the temporal economy, because this tool will benefit customers worldwide as well as the more than 60 Privative Consulates of Merchant Marine.

With this new feature of the system, the Panama Maritime Authority (PMA) – under the direction of Mr. Jorge Barakat Pitty – aims to strengthen Panama's position as the first merchant marine worldwide, while it gives a clear message of its commitment to excellence and competitiveness. In such a way, this Administration is committed not only by providing tax incentives to the users, but also by intensifying its efforts to make Panama the “Flag State of Excellence.”

It is worth noting that, prior the implementation of this new feature, the Merchant Marine General Directorate led conversations with the resident agents that daily carry formalities at the PMA. These conversations were aimed to let them know about this avant-garde movement. Throughout the presentations, several requests were received and were taken into account. Among those requests we should highlight the approval of the automatic notification to resident agents, indicating that have been appointed as such.