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

Panama Canal locks expansion project
The Panama Canal Authority is shooting to open its third set of larger locks that can handle post-Panamax ships in May, but it doesn’t expect the larger locks to attract new services for several months.

News & Analysis

20 Oct 2016
The Panama Canal Authority said increased rainfall has permitted an increase in maximum allowable drafts at the canal’s new locks.
24 Jun 2016
The 2M Alliance plans to shift one of their Asia-to-U.S. East Coast services to the newly expanded Panama Canal.
14 Jun 2016
A new Panama Canal container route to the U.S. Gulf from Asia will replace and build on an intermodal rail service that Maersk Line launched via Mexico.
07 Jun 2016
The Panama Canal Authority will determine whether its third set of locks where leaks were found are functional.
06 Jun 2016
The Suez Canal has extended and deepened discounts to container lines.
25 May 2016
Port Miami Director Juan Kuryla and JOC Senior Content Editor Alessandra Barrett talk on the sidelines of the 16th TPM Conference about Port Miami’s efforts to prepare for the expanded Panama Canal.


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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