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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.

Virginia moves to become deepest US East Coast port

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Oct 15, 2019, 3:09 PM EDT

The first step in dredging the harbor in Norfolk will begin in January 2020, kickstarting a project that will make the Port of Virginia the deepest harbor on the East Coast.
North American ports

Greater East Coast connectivity threatens smaller US ports

Lars Jensen, CEO, Sea-Intelligence Consulting | Sep 30, 2019, 10:45 AM EDT

Falling behind on connectivity for import/export cargo can easily trigger the negative feedback loop, eventually leading to elimination of the regular liner services.
North American ports

Canal competition for US East Coast cargo heats up

Greg Knowler, Senior Europe Editor | Jun 20, 2019, 12:57 PM EDT

Asian manufacturing shifts and the rising cost of fuel are influencing all-water US East Coast services.

More rain needed to avoid Panama Canal draft limit crunch

JOC Staff | May 20, 2019, 11:18 AM EDT

Shallow Panama Canal draft limits have already pushed up spot rates from Asia to the East Coast, with the cost of moving an FEU up 14 percent year over year.
Container lines

Panama Canal draft limits lift trans-Pacific spot rates

Bill Mongelluzzo, Senior Editor | May 10, 2019, 5:40 PM EDT

Draft restrictions resulting from low water levels in the Panama Canal are driving up spot ocean freight rates between Asia and the US East Coast in the short term, but the long-term outlook is unclear due to further threatened tariffs on US imports from China.
Container lines

Panama Canal draft restrictions limiting container ship loadings

Greg Knowler, Senior Europe Editor | May 7, 2019, 4:43 PM EDT

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) announced the sixth reduction in its maximum draft this year for the Neopanamax locks on Gatun Lake as water levels continue to fall.
International portsContainer lines

Panama Canal warns of sharper El Niño draft limits

Keith Walls, Asia correspondent | Apr 12, 2019, 1:55 PM EDT

With draft restrictions already imposed in the waterway’s larger locks due to lack of rain, the Panama Canal Authority is working on plans for a third water reservoir that would help replenish the locks system during dry weather.
Container linesInternational ports

Larger ships than expected traversing new Panama Canal

Peter T. Leach, contributing editor | Jun 15, 2017, 2:26 PM EDT

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

Panama Canal tables plans for Corozal terminal

Peter T. Leach, contributing editor | Jun 15, 2017, 1:48 PM EDT

A Panama Canal Authority plan to build a big new container terminal in Corozal near the Pacific entrance has foundered on legal challenges.
PortsContainer lines

New Panama Canal locks accelerating US coastal import shift

Dustin Braden, Shipper Relationship Manager | Jun 13, 2017, 5:54 PM EDT

Average container ship sizes through the Panama Canal have increased by roughly 47.5 percent to 6,000 TEU since the June 26 opening of the Panama Canal’s larger lock.
International portsNorth American ports

Canal proposes lower tolls for New Panamax backhauls

Joseph Bonney, Senior Editor | Jun 2, 2017, 1:15 PM EDT

The Panama Canal Authority plans to implement a reduced toll schedule for Atlantic-to-Pacific backhauls.
Container linesInternational ports

Panama Canal overtakes Suez on Asia-US East Coast route

Bruce Barnard, Special Correspondent | Nov 22, 2016, 11:27 AM EST

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.
Container linesInternational ports

No escape for Panamax owners as ship redundancies mount

Greg Knowler, Senior Europe Editor | Nov 16, 2016, 3:32 AM EST

Scrap another 100 Panamax ships in the next couple of months if there is to be any rebalancing of supply and demand, Alphaliner warns.
International portsContainer lines

New Panamax ships total 11 percent of canal transits

Joseph Bonney, Senior Editor | Nov 14, 2016, 2:10 PM EST

More larger ships expected as carrier alliances revise schedules.
International portsContainer lines

Panama Canal raises new locks’ draft

Joseph Bonney, Senior Editor | Oct 20, 2016, 12:00 PM EDT

The Panama Canal Authority said increased rainfall has permitted an increase in maximum allowable drafts at the canal’s new locks.
International portsContainer lines

Panama Canal struggles to boost container ship transits

Bruce Barnard, Special Correspondent | Oct 13, 2016, 9:19 AM EDT

Container ship transits through the Panama Canal are running well below capacity following its $5.25 billion widening.
International portsContainer lines

Panama moves forward with Corozal port project

Joseph Bonney, Senior Editor | Oct 11, 2016, 10:57 AM EDT

Four port operators have until Feb. 3, 2017, to submit economic proposals to design, build, and operate a container transshipment terminals near Corozal, at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal.

Rosy East Coast port forecasts hinge on more than Panama Canal

Bill Mongelluzzo, Senior Editor | Sep 19, 2016, 9:35 PM EDT

Irrational exuberance could result in inflated expectations and overbuilding of transportation infrastructure to the US interior if the cargo volumes don’t materialize.
North American portsInternational ports

Larger Panama Canal no guarantee of more Asian cargo for eastern US ports

Bill Mongelluzzo, Senior Editor | Sep 16, 2016, 6:41 PM EDT

<p>“Cost, consistency and capacity will determine the gateways through which Asian imports enter the US."</p>
North American portsInternational ports

Panama Canal provides ro-ro operators flexibility, savings

Joseph Bonney, Senior Editor | Sep 3, 2016, 7:00 AM EDT

The Panama Canal’s expanded locks have opened a new path for roll-on, roll-off carriers.
MaritimeInternational ports