Expansion of the existing Panama Canal was a long-term project, the main objective of which the deepening and widening of the existing Canal through excavation of a new navigation Canal that would connect the new set of locks with the already existing ones. The expanded Canal is equipped with the lightning lamps, allowing the safe passage through the Canal locks even at night.
The expansion of the Panama Canal does not equal the overwhelming increase of number of ships or cargos going through it, nevertheless, this “expansion more than doubles the canal’s capacity” (Paris, 2016). The Panama Canal became more competitive, because the expansion led to decrease of the duration of a one-way round from Asia to East Coast of the U.S. by five days. The new locks influenced the container shipping and global trade environment. According to Joseph Bonney (Bonney, 2016), “many consultants and industrial real estate developers predict the canal expansion will accelerate a gradual shift of U.S. containerized imports from Asia, now dominated by West Coast ports, toward the East and Gulf coasts”.
Among the logistic challenges for container vessels in the Panama Canal are water operations and procedures, as they require adjustments in current transit operations. Firstly, implementation of the positioning procedure of a vessel in new locks; secondly, handling of vessels that are sufficiently larger in size, and their displacement. Lockage operations of vessels in the old procedures have been done using locomotives that assisted vessels inside the chambers. Current new locks maneuver using their engines and radars, and are assisted by tuck-boats if necessary.
The Panama Canal business and logistic implications are numerous, but all of them can be overcome with time. Its expansion will over time increase revenues, and cargo capacity of ships and ports. Executives expect to move more of refrigerated products, cargo and liquid natural gas through the expanded Canal after settling all lockage and operational procedures.
- Bonney, J. (2016) Panama Canal Expansion Will Affect Shipping – But How? JOC.com. Retrieved from http://www.joc.com/port-news/panama-canal-news/panama-canal-expansion-will-affect-shipping-how_20160625.html
- Paris, C., Whelan, R., and Vyas, K. (2016) The Panama Canal Expands: The Nine-Year, $5.4 Billion Project Is Critical to Western Trade in the Long Term, Though It comes Amid a Sipping Industry Slump. Wall Street Journal (online). Retrieved from https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-panama-canal-expands-1466378348