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.
05 May 2016
APM Terminals, Terminal Link, Terminal Investments Ltd , and PSA International have pre-qualified to bid on a proposed container terminal at Corozal, according to the Panama Canal Authority. Mitsui O.S.K Lines, Manzanillo International Terminal and Ports America were were not approved.
24 Mar 2016
The Panama Canal Authority said its new locks will be inaugurated June 26, more than two years after the original completion target.
22 Mar 2016
The Panama Canal Authority will set draft restrictions on shipping using the vital east-west waterway as the El Nino weather phenomenon causes water levels to fall well below average for this time of year.
New locks project at Panama Canal
02 Mar 2016
A panel of ocean shipping experts at the 16th Annual TPM Conference gazed in their crystal balls and saw very different outcomes for shipping patterns after the Panama Canal opens its new larger locks to commercial traffic in June.
22 Feb 2016
The Panama Canal Authority warned that the El Nino weather phenomenon could result in draft restrictions on the waterway as soon as April.

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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