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

The Panama Canal has overtaken the Suez Canal as the favored transit route for carriers operating services between Asia and the US East Coast following the widening of the Central American waterway.

News & Analysis

16 Nov 2016
Scrap another 100 Panamax ships in the next couple of months if there is to be any rebalancing of supply and demand, Alphaliner warns.
Winners and losers arrow pointing up.
03 Apr 2013
There’s been no shortage of market-defining action in the first three months of 2013. Who's up and who's down?
25 Mar 2013
Representatives from Louisiana’s Terrebonne Parish Economic Development Authority and the Port of Terrebonne have determined that liquefied natural gas will offer a “huge opportunity” for exportation for regional Gulf Coast ports...
20 Mar 2013
Countries in Central America, the Dominican Republic and Belize must “dramatically” improve their intermodal road and port network infrastructure, as well as the quality of their trucking services, and strengthen their institutional coordination, in order to cope with the larger vessels that will transit through the Panama Canal when its expansion is complete in 2015, according to two studies issued by the Inter-American Development Bank.
11 Mar 2013
New Zealand’s Port of Tauranga has received final approval from the Minister of Conservation for its plan to widen and deepen its shipping channel in order to accommodate larger ships.
15 Feb 2013
The Florida Department of Transportation has implemented administrative rule changes to reduce the regulatory burdens on trucks, according to the state’s Gov. Richard Lynn Scott.


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' channel assessment methodology based on national benefit/cost ratio is speculative and, in some areas, flawed, especially on the benefit side.

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