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

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.
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.
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.”

Commentary

The Panama Canal expansion has triggered some serious consideration about a port’s place in the new world order of larger ships and the place of its neighbor(s).

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.