The Colón Free Zone experienced a fall of US$1 billion in movement of goods in the first two months of 2016, a drop of 28.7%, compared with the same period last year, total transactions falling from US$3.5 billion to US$2.5 billion.
La Prensa reports that figures for February actually represent a slight improvement, noting that in January of this year, activity fell 34% compared to the same month in 2015.
The early figures for 2016 represent a trend of falling commercial activity at the free zone, one of the largest in the world. Several factors, including the continued strength of the U.S. dollar and economic problems in Colombia and Venezuela, (two countries that have traditionally provided a great deal of Colón’s business) are cited by experts as contributing to the falling trend.
The Association of Users of the Free Zone have called on the government to step in and take action to end the downward trend. However, no domestic policy changes are likely to offset the global conditions impacting sales.
Economic activity at the zone fell 42.3% for the period when compared to January and February 2013.