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.

News & Analysis

27 Jun 2016
Cosco Shipping Panama on Sunday made the first commercial transit of the Panama Canal’s new locks.
03 Oct 2015
When the expanded Panama Canal debuts, assumedly by mid-2016, not all Caribbean transshipment hubs will be in the same position to accommodate larger vessels, and none may be as disadvantaged as Kingston Container Terminal.
Panama Canal locks project
01 Oct 2015
Repairs to the Panama Canal's new locks will be more extensive than previously indicated, and the date for their completion is uncertain.
24 Sep 2015
Cracks in a sill of one of the new Panama Canal locks is “likely” to risk a delay in the scheduled April 2016 opening of the new locks, a Panama Canal Authority executive told Reuters.
Panama Canal
16 Sep 2015
Volume-based toll reductions for container lines that regularly deploy large vessels through the expanded Panama Canal will make the canal route from Northeast Asia to the U.S. East Coast highly competitive with West Coast and Suez Canal routings, a Panama Canal Authority executive said.
24 Aug 2015
A reported crack in the concrete of one of the Panama Canal’s new locks has raised concerns about a potential delay of the canal’s scheduled expansion next year.

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.

More Commentary

Video

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.
At the 16th TPM Conference JOC Senior Content Editor Alessandra Barrett and Norfolk Southern Railway Director of International Intermodal Randy Bayles discuss how the expansion of the Panama Canal has impacted how NS serves ports on the U.S. East Coast and the challenges presented to intermodal rail providers by container surges from mega-ships.
JOC Senior Content Editor Alessandra Barrett and Florida East Coast Railway President and CEO Jim Hertwig sat down at the 16th TPM Conference to chat about the impact of the expanded Panama Canal on Florida ports and transport firms, the FECR’s new e-commerce platform, and the future of shipping refrigerated products in South Florida.