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 long-anticipated sea change in trans-Pacific shipping networks is well underway a year after the Panama Canal opened its expanded lock system.

News & Analysis

15 Jun 2017
A Panama Canal Authority plan to build a big new container terminal in Corozal near the Pacific entrance has foundered on legal challenges.
25 Jun 2016
The larger locks of the Panama Canal open on Sunday, but what impact will they have on global trade and container shipping?
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.

Commentary

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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