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.
Work on the current Panama Canal expansion project.
26 Jun 2014
The Panama Canal Authority is already thinking beyond the limits of the current expansion project.
17 Jun 2014
The decision today by the world’s three biggest container lines to scrap plans to implement the P3 Network this fall is likely to boost container traffic through the Panama Canal.
11 Jun 2014
The second of four shipments of new rolling gates for the Panama Canal Expansion Program arrived at the canal yesterday afternoon after nearly one month at sea.
08 May 2014
Construction workers in Panama ended a two-week nationwide strike today, allowing the expansion of the Panama Canal to resume, Reuters reports.
28 Apr 2014
The opening of the enlarged Panama Canal in 2016 likely will trigger a “massive” surplus of 4,000- to 5,000-TEU container ships, many of which will have to be scrapped regardless of their age, according to Drewry Maritime Research.

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.