Panama Canal Expansion

Panama Canal Expansion

The $5.25 billion expansion of the Panama Canal will either dramatically boost East and Gulf Coast container trade or disappoint their expectations of gaining more cargo. But the opening of much larger locks in early 2016 is already boosting prospects for more exports to Asia from U.S. Gulf ports of LNG, coal and grain cargos.

What is certain is that the doubling of capacity on the connector of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans will change the way the world¹s shipping lines ply their global routes when the project is completed. The doubling of the canal’s capacity will allow shippers to bring their Asian goods to the Eastern and Gulf coasts for less money. That’s largely because the new locks will be able to handle larger vessels that can carry nearly three times as many containers. The project is also expected to bolster Panama’s strategic positions as a transshipment hub and business center for much of Central and South America.

For general developments at the Panama Canal, see also JOC’s Panama Canal News page.

Special Coverage

Is the Panama Canal losing its position as the dominant route for East Coast importers of cargo from Asia? Will it be able to regain the services it has been losing to the Suez route when it’s finally able to open its large new locks to post-Panamax ships at the end of 2015?

News & Analysis

28 Oct 2014
The first gate for the new locks on the Pacific side of the expanded Panama Canal arrived this week, as the exp
14 Oct 2014
The Panama Canal Pilots Union will not try to renegotiate its contract with the Panama Canal Authority this year as both parties are allowed under the existing contract.
03 Oct 2014
When the new, expanded Panama Canal finally opens sometime in early 2016, an armada of ships twice the size of those capa
01 Oct 2014
The pilots who guide ships through the Panama Canal fear that the navigation methods chosen to guide post-Panamax vessels into the new expanded locks and through the enlarged canal channels run higher risks of accidents than existing practices.
25 Sep 2014
Even though the $5.3 billion Panama Canal expansion has yet to be completed, Panama Canal Authority Administrator Jorge Quijano already envisions another expansion within 25 years to handle even larger container ships.
Jorge Quijano
16 Sep 2014
A $400 million loan necessary to complete the $5.3 billion Panama Canal expansion project has been received by the engineering consortium responsible for widening the canal, according to the Panama Canal Authority’s lead administrator, Channel News Asia reported.

Commentary

Canals used to be a sleepy topic. Suddenly, times have changed.

More Commentary

Video

James Hertwig, president and CEO of the Florida East Coast Railway, discusses the railroad’s preparations for the opening of the expansion of the Panama Canal, through projects at the Port of Miami, Port Everglades and the South Florida Logistics Center.
On the second day of a two-day tour of Panama, JOC Editor Mark Szakonyi rides the Panama Canal Railway to the Port of Colon, a growing transshipment hub.
On the first day of a two-day Panama Canal tour, JOC Editor Mark Szakonyi checks out a Hamburg Sud container ship pass through the canal.