Panama Canal News

Panama Canal map

Read news and analysis on the Panama Canal, including discussions of development and reports on tolls and traffic, including ocean carrier strategies involving use of the Panama Canal for all-water service from Asia to the U.S. East Coast.

The Panama Canal Authority is currently much of the way through a multi-year expansion program that involves the construction of two new sets of locks, on the Pacific and Atlantic sides of the canal, to accommodate larger ships. The project also involves the widening and deepening of navigational channels in Gatun Lake, as well as the deepening of Culebra Cut.

For specific updates and insight into the expansion project slated for completion in 2015, readers should also consult the JOC’s Panama Canal Expansion special topic.


Fiscal year 2013 brought a slight decrease in Panama Canal tonnage, in part because of continuing weak demand in the United States and Europe and the general slowdown of emerging market economies. Canal traffic was also impacted by the maritime industry’s shift toward larger, more energy-efficient vessels, which are unable to transit the canal until the expansion program is completed.

News & Analysis

Lake Nicaragua
14 Mar 2014
Manuel Coronel Kautz, the president of the Nicaraguan Canal Commission, has announced that the traditionally proposed Nicaragua canal route up the San Juan River...
From left: Tay Yoshitani, Port of Seattle; Robert Leachman, University of California, Berkeley;John Wheeler, South Carolina State Ports Authority; Michael Murphy, CenterPoint Properties; Richard Smith, Sears Holdings Corp.
10 Mar 2014
LONG BEACH, Calif. — Retailers and other beneficial cargo owners that import merchandise from Asia make their routing decisions based on where the goods are produced, the U.S. destination, the cost of transportation, the value of the cargo and its sensitivity to transit time.
28 Feb 2014
The deadline for completing the $5.25 billion Panama Canal’s expansion project has been postponed by another three months under a tentative refinancing agreement between the Panama Canal Authority and the engineering consortium that is building the new locks.
21 Feb 2014
The consortium building the new locks at the Panama Canal resumed work on the project on Thursday after a two-week suspension in a dispute over $1.6 billion in cost overruns.
20 Feb 2014
U.S. West Coast ports will lose some container volume to East and Gulf Coast ports once the Panama Canal is enlarged, but there is no need to panic as long as they remain reliable and efficient gateways for U.S. trade with Asia, Tioga Group principal Dan Smith said yesterday.
Panama Canal expansion project
20 Feb 2014
The settlement of the dispute over cost overruns between the Panama Canal Authority and the engineering consortium building its new set of larger locks leaves unanswered the questions of when the $5.25 billion expansion project will be completed and how much more it will cost in the end.
05 Feb 2014
Work to expand the Panama Canal was suspended today following a breakdown in talks between the canal authority and the construction consortium to resolve a bitter dispute over more than $1 billion in cost overruns.
03 Feb 2014
SEA ISLAND, Ga. — A canal through Nicaragua connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans will cost double proponents’ estimate and will likely never be built, the No. 2 official at the Panama Canal said today.
Work on the Panama Canal expansion. Courtesy of Panama Canal Authority.
21 Jan 2014
The deputy administrator of the Panama Canal Authority on Tuesday said the $5.25 billion expansion of the Panama Canal will meet the target date of mid-2015.
Work on the Panama Canal expansion. Courtesy Panama Canal Authority.
16 Jan 2014
The Panama Canal, following a widely reported payments dispute with contractors that threatens to delay its expansion, went on the counteroffensive this week with a new website designed to provide “Clarification of the most common doubts about the Expansion.”