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 2015 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

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.
11 Aug 2014
The Panama Canal Authority is warning a drought might force it to limit the drafts of container vessels traversing the waterway, reducing the amount of cargo container ships can carry.
09 Aug 2014
The third set of Panama Canal locks aren't even completed yet, and yet Panama continues to talk openly about a fourth set of locks to handle even bigger ships.
04 Aug 2014
The Panama Canal Authority and the consortium hired to build a third set of locks have amended their construction contract to reflect a March settlement of a payment dispute that interrupted work for two weeks.
Panama Canal locks project
17 Jul 2014
An arbitration hearing is set to begin Monday in Miami on a contractor’s claim for $180 million in cost overruns for expansion of the Panama Canal.
09 Jul 2014
The Panama Canal Authority, which earlier this year dismissed the possibility of an alternate canal through Nicaragua, had a more cautious reaction this week following the Nicaraguan government’s approval of plans by a Hong Kong-based company for the proposed $40 billion canal.

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.