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About Us

The Central American Maritime Transport Commission (COCATRAM) is a specialized organization that is a permanent part of the institutional structure of the Central American Integration System (SICA). It has its own board of directors and is based in the city of Managua, Nicaragua.

Cocatram

Our History

COCATRAM attends to matters related to Central America’s maritime and port development and its main function is to advise the Council of Transport Ministers of Central America (COMITRAN) and the member governments on the adoption of policies and decisions. The aim is to achieve harmonious development in the sector that meets the countries’ foreign trade needs in terms of the quality, economy and efficiency of maritime transportation and port services, protecting and representing the region’s interests against those of extra-regional organizations. COCATRAM also responds to the guidelines and policies issued by COMITRAN, whose Technical Secretariat is the Permanent Secretariat of the General Treaty of Central American Economic Integration (SIECA). COCATRAM is legally based on Resolution REMITRAN V-3-87, which establishes its constitution and functioning.

COCATRAM’s member countries are Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. It is managed by a Board of Directors that includes the participation of both the public and private sectors. This Board consists of one Director per member country—whether the minister or deputy-minister responsible for maritime transport or somebody representing them—and one Alternate Director, who is a high-level official linked to each country’s port and maritime field. Both of these directors are named by the respective ministries responsible for transport, while an additional three Directors and three Alternate Directors are designated by the regional private sector, one pair by the Central American Association of International Freight Transport Users (USUARIOS), one by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce of Central America (FECAMCO) and one by the Federation of Chambers and Associations of Exporters of Central America (FECAEXCA).

The Board of Directors has a Presidency and Vice-Presidency, both of which rotate among the countries’ Directors for one-year terms. The country holding the Vice-Presidency for one term assumes the Presidency in the next one. A total of four ordinary meetings are held every year, while extraordinary meetings are also agreed upon to address specific issues. The Executive Director acts as the Secretary of the Board of Directors.

Mission

To be an organization capable of maintaining leadership in the management and promotion of environmentally sustainable and comprehensively safe maritime and port policies with the purpose of turning Central America into a competitive and integrated region in relation to world maritime trade.

Vision

To contribute to the development of Central American maritime trade, identifying, promoting and driving forward measures, policies and actions in the framework of the corresponding international regulations and standards.

BACKGROUND

1980
July 15
Foundation

COCATRAM was created on July 15, 1980, through Resolution 5-80 of the Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Central American Economic Integration (ROMRIECA XXIII), issued in the city of Managua, Nicaragua.

Constitutive Resolution 5-80 made Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica COCATRAM member countries and defined the institution’s Constitutive Statutes.

1987
February 27
REMITRAN

On February 27, 1987, the Meeting of Central American Ministers of Transport (REMITRAN) decided to designate COCATRAM as its technical body, according to Resolution REMITRAN V-3-87, issued in Guatemala City in the Republic of Guatemala.

1991
July 11
Updated COCATRAM’s original statutes

In response to the objectives and guidelines issued by the Central American Integration System (SICA), REMITRAN updated COCATRAM’s original statutes on July 11, 1991, through the Special Agreement of Ministers Responsible for Transport in Central America, signed in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. This Agreement also incorporated Panama into COCATRAM.

1997
February 17
COMITRAN

On February 17, 1997, REMITRAN established the Council of Transport Ministers of Central America (COMITRAN) through the Resolution of the 16th Meeting held in San Salvador, El Salvador. This was done in accordance with the institutional organization planned in the Tegucigalpa Protocol, incorporating COCATRAM into that Council’s new institutional structure with the aim of strengthening the maritime port sector’s regional coordination.

1999
August
Transformation

In August 1999, COCATRAM initiated a transformation characterized by a strong re-engineering process, aimed at offering a better service.

2000
12 Mayo
Ratification of changes

This process of change was ratified by COMITRAN in its 22nd Meeting of May 12, 2000, in Guatemala City, Republic of Guatemala, through Resolution 05-2000.

As a result, changes were made to the body’s structure and to the processes and procedures related to the delivery of services, communication and coordination with domestic and foreign clients.

Associated Documents

Comisión Centroamericana de Transporte Marítimo

Legal Framework

COCATRAM was created through Resolution No. 5-80 of the 23rd Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Central American Economic Integration (ROMRIECA XXIII), held on July 5, 1980, based on the stipulations of article XX of the General Central American Economic Integration Treaty (the General Treaty). It was established to provide ongoing, specialized and comprehensive institutional attention to the different aspects related to the development of maritime transport in Central America. Later, in February 1987, in line with a decision of the above-mentioned Meeting, COCATRAM was put under the authority of the Ministers Responsible for Transport in Central America, through Resolution REMITRAN V-3-87. Then on July 11, 1991, COCATRAM’s original statutes were updated through the Special Agreement signed on that date by REMITRAN in Tegucigalpa (Honduras), responding to the objectives and guidelines issued by the Central American Integration System. As a result, COCATRAM became a regional technical advisory body of the Council of Transport Ministers of Central America (COMITRAN) and of the governments of Central America. This process will henceforth be known as the Constitutive Resolution.

In line with the stipulations of the aforementioned Article 4, COCATRAM is a regional body that acts as a technical advisory body to COMITRAN and the member governments. It responds to the guidelines and policies passed by this Council of Ministers, which forms part of the Central American Integration System (SICA) and which, in accordance with the guidelines issued by the latter, is functionally dependent on the Secretariat for Central American Economic Integration (SIECA). It was created for the adoption of policies, measures, recommendations and decisions in the different fields of maritime transport for their application both at the regional and national levels with a view to achieving the sector’s harmonious and effective development, and in relation to extra-regional interests and bodies. As a result, the only powers it has are those expressly bestowed upon it by its Statutes and the Constitutive Resolution, none of whose provisions authorize it to intervene in affairs related to the internal jurisdiction of the body’s member States.

Organization Chart

COCATRAM will have the following bodies, in hierarchical order:

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is collegial and the highest body in COCATRAM. It is responsible for managing the body and is made up of Delegates and their Alternates from the governments of the different States that are full members and from the regional private sector linked to its activities… (). – Statutes – Article 23.

The Presidency of COCATRAM will rotate every 12 months among its member countries in the following order: Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. The heads of the Presidency and Vice-Presidency, in the role of President and Vice-President, respectively, will be the Delegates of the governments of the countries to which the presidency and vice-presidency correspond in turn. If the country has only designated one Delegate to the Board of Directors, that person will occupy the post. The transfer of the presidency and vice-presidency to the different countries will take place during the ordinary session of the month of August each year. – Statutes – Article 24.

Article 41.– The Board of Directors will hold ordinary meetings to:

  • Propose and monitor the body’s project initiatives.
  • Learn about, approve or reject reports by COCATRAM’s different bodies. 
  • Transfer the presidency and vice-presidency of the Board of Directors at the corresponding time.
  • Learn about, approve or reject the body’s work programs and budget, at the corresponding time.
  • Determine the quota and form of payment for the rights of annual membership.
  • Establish permanent and special commissions to comply with the body’s objectives.
  • Approve provisions related to commercial transactions, public tenders, contracting and/or any other expenditure that exceeds the amounts established in COCATRAM’s internal regulations.
  • Name the members of the Oversight Commission, according to what is established in these Statutes.
  • Coordinate the contracting of external audits when considered in COCATRAM’s interests and follow up on their reports.
  • Issue regulations and resolutions to ensure the body functions well.
  • Address any other corresponding matters stipulated in the current Statutes.

Article 53.- The Board of Directors will have the following responsibilities:

  • Represent COCATRAM in all functions and meetings that require its presence.
  • Name its representatives for whatever it considers appropriate and necessary.
  • Approve, modify or reject the minutes of previous sessions.
  • Authorize the outlays that need to be incurred to comply with COCATRAM’s objectives.
  • Authorize hirings and/or financial commitments when they exceed USD 10,000.
  • Revise and approve the work plan and annual budget for the coming year during the November ordinary meeting.
  • Interpret and regulate these Statutes, including the adoption of the general regulations and the regulations that must govern the functioning of the Executive Directorate.
  • Safeguard compliance with the body’s ends and objectives.
  • Determine the quota and form of payment for the rights to annual membership.
  • Establish permanent and special commissions to comply with the body’s objectives.
  • Comply and ensure compliance with the provisions of the Constitutive Resolution, these Statutes, the regulations and its own resolutions.
  • Approve the body’s work and annual budget plan.
  • Hold ordinary and extraordinary meetings.
  • Decide COCATRAM’s actions and general policies, determine the structure and functions of its bodies and consider any matter related to the organization’s coexistence, such as its administrative and technical organization.
  • Propose reforms of the special agreement to COMITRAN, when considered convenient.
  • Approve provisions related to commercial transactions, public tenders, contracting and/or any other expenditure that exceeds the amounts established in COCATRAM’s internal regulations.
  • Name the members of the Oversight Commission in line with what is established in these Statutes.
  • Coordinate the contracting of External Audits when considered in COCATRAM’s interests and follow up on their reports.
  • Issue guidelines and resolutions to ensure the body functions well.
  • Determine honorary appointments.
  • Monitor the suitability and capacity of COCATRAM’s executive and professional personnel and that they are selected on the basis of verifiable profiles of their skills and experience.
  • Name and remove the Executive Director.
  • Annually review the body’s five-year Strategic Plan.
  • Implement the Annual Operating Plan.
  • Other responsibilities conferred by the Constitutive Resolution and these Statutes.

Article 57.– The Oversight Commission is the second most important body in COCATRAM. Its mission is to oversee the body’s work and activities and that it duly complies with the Constitutive Resolution, these Statutes, the regulations and the Board of Directors’ agreements. For this purpose, it will have free access to all of the body’s installations, books and documents.

Article 58.– This Commission will be made up of three members, one of whom will be the Delegate or the Alternate Delegate acting as the Delegate from each of the body’s member countries, who will preside over the said Commission. The Presidency of the Oversight Commission will rotate every 12 months in the following order: Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama, as long the country is not serving as the President of the Board of Directors. The other members will be the Delegate or Alternate Delegate acting as the Delegate of the body’s host country and the Delegate or Alternate Delegate acting as the Delegate of one of the representatives of private Enterprise accredited in the Board of Directors. When the Delegate or Alternate Delegate acting as the Delegate of the host country is presiding over the Oversight Commission, a third Delegate will not be required.

Article 59.– The members of the Oversight Commission will be named every year in the ordinary meeting for transferring the Presidency. They will meet in the body’s headquarters when so determined by its members.

Members

Guatemala Guatemala

Pending Designation

Titular Director

Pending Designation

Alternate Director

El Salvador El Salvador

Nelson Reyes Rivas

Director

Vice-Minister of Transport MOP El Salvador

Honduras Honduras

SR. BAYARDO PAGOADA FIGUEROA

Sr. Bayardo Pagoada Figueroa

Director

Sub-Secretary of Transport INSEP

Sr. Edgar Soriano Ortiz

Alternate Director

Director General of the Merchant Navy

Nicaragua Nicaragua

Sr. Pablo Gerald López Solis

Director

Manager of the Corinto Port Administration National Port Company (EPN)

Sr. Manuel Mora

Alternate Director

Director General Aquatic Transport Directorate (MTI)

Costa Rica Costa Rica

Efraim Zeledón Leiva

Director

Vice-Minister of Infrastructure Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MOPT)

VERNY JIMENEZ ROJAS

Verny Jimenez Rojas

Alternate Director

General Director of the Maritime Port Division MOPT

Panama Panamá

Elvia Bustavino

Sra. Elvia Bustavino

Vice Minister of Maritime Affairs

Deputy Administrator of the Panama Maritime Authority

SR. ILDEFONSO SUIRA FRANCO

Sr. Ildefonso Suira Franco

Alternate Director

Sub-Director of the Legal Advice Office Panama Maritime Authority (AMP)

Private Enterprise

Sr. César Sandino

Director

Representative of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce (FECAMCO)

Sr. Julio Vidal

Alternate Director

Representative of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce (FECAMCO)

Sr. Medardo Galindo

Director

Representative of the Federation of Chambers and Associations of Exporters of Central American (FECAEXCA

Work Team

Otto G. Noack Sierra

Executive Director

GUATEMALA

José Dopeso

Director of Maritime and Port Affairs

PANAMÁ

Marcela M. Sánchez Brenes

Administrative and Financial Director

NICARAGUA

Hugo López Sánchez

Training Director

NICARAGUA

SICA’S INSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURE

The Central American Integration System (SICA) is the institutional framework for Central American regional integration, created by the States of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. Later, Belize and the Dominican Republic joined as full members in 2000 and 2013, respectively. Its main objective is to implement Central America’s integration to establish it as a region of peace, liberty, democracy and development.

SICA was created on December 13, 1991, through the signing of the Protocol to the Charter of the Organization of Central American States (ODECA), or the Tegucigalpa Protocol. This Protocol reformed the ODECA Charter signed in Panama on December 12, 1962, and SICA formally started functioning on February 1, 1993. The headquarters of SICA’s General Secretariat, Central American House, is located in the Republic of El Salvador.

In 2010, the process of Central American integration was relaunched when the heads of state and government of SICA’s member countries identified the region’s priority areas: democratic security, climate change and comprehensive risk management, social integration, economic integration, and institutional capacity-building.

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