Panama Canal Expansion

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

15 Oct 2019
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.
30 Sep 2019
Falling behind on connectivity for import/export cargo can easily trigger the negative feedback loop, eventually leading to elimination of the regular liner services.
20 Jun 2019
Asian manufacturing shifts and the rising cost of fuel are influencing all-water US East Coast services.
20 May 2019
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.
10 May 2019
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.
07 May 2019
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.
12 Apr 2019
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.
26 Jul 2017
Sponsor: Making BCO partnerships centric with the terminal strategy is vital, says Jeremy Ford, APM Terminals' head of commercial.   
15 Jun 2017
The long-anticipated sea change in trans-Pacific shipping networks is well underway a year after the Panama Canal opened its expanded lock system.
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.
13 Jun 2017
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.
02 Jun 2017
The Panama Canal Authority plans to implement a reduced toll schedule for Atlantic-to-Pacific backhauls.
22 Nov 2016
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.
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.
14 Nov 2016
More larger ships expected as carrier alliances revise schedules.
20 Oct 2016
The Panama Canal Authority said increased rainfall has permitted an increase in maximum allowable drafts at the canal’s new locks.
13 Oct 2016
Container ship transits through the Panama Canal are running well below capacity following its $5.25 billion widening.
11 Oct 2016
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.
The larger locks of the Panama Canal, pictured, have made it possible to reroute large amounts of cargo destined for the interior United States away from West Coast ports.
19 Sep 2016
Irrational exuberance could result in inflated expectations and overbuilding of transportation infrastructure to the US interior if the cargo volumes don’t materialize.
16 Sep 2016
“Cost, consistency and capacity will determine the gateways through which Asian imports enter the US."
The NYK Iris Leader transits the larger locks of the Panama Canal. Ships move through the new locks with the help of tugs. The old locks rely on locomotives to pull ships through them.
03 Sep 2016
The Panama Canal’s expanded locks have opened a new path for roll-on, roll-off carriers.
08 Aug 2016
Canal officials said they're "very pleased" with operations so far.
08 Aug 2016
Rickmers Maritime said its charter fleet faces even tougher times ahead following the opening of the widened Panama Canal as its second-quarter loss more than tripled and its charter revenue was down more than a third from a year earlier.
25 Jul 2016
Port touts its proximity to distribution centers along Florida's I-4 corridor.
Maersk Line will deploy the same size ships on the new Panama routing as it did via the old routing through the Suez Canal.
21 Jul 2016
Maersk Line said it would reroute one of its Suez Canal strings just days before the Panama Canal opened June 26.
18 Jul 2016
Container lines won't be able to scrap themselves out of their excess capacity situation.
13 Jul 2016
The Panama Canal has ousted the Suez Canal as the leading route for all-water container services between the Far East and the U.S. East Coast.
Sights such as this one, a Panamax ship transiting the old Panama Canal locks, are set to become increasingly rare as container lines upsize tonnage to take advantage of better economies of scale made possible by the canal's addition of newer larger locks.
12 Jul 2016
The recent opening of the expanded Panama Canal is shaking up the deployment pattern of container ships.
HMM's new ships will replace vessels with 4,600 TEUs as container lines continue to upsize the ships they send through the Panama Canal.
11 Jul 2016
Hyundai Merchant Marine plans to deploy six ships with capacities of 10,000 twenty-foot-equivalent units on an existing Asia-U.S. East Coast service via the enlarged Panama Canal.
27 Jun 2016
Cosco Shipping Panama on Sunday made the first commercial transit of the Panama Canal’s new locks.
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.
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.

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.