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Packnet has written several posts about the Panama Canal expansion project and its potential impact on US shipping infrastructure. This post is an update to the latest developments and answers some common questions:
What is the Panama Canal Expansion?
The Panama Canal expansion project consists of creating another lane of traffic and expanding the capacity of the locks while widening and deepening existing channels with the goal of doubling the existing capacity by its completion.
How much does this project cost?
Current projections have the project costing 5.25 Billion dollars. There are expected to be 1.6 billion dollars of cost over runs.
What is the timeline of the project?
The project was conceptualized and funded starting in 2006. The first actual dredging started in 2009. The completion was originally scheduled for early 2014. The project has been plagued by cost overruns, labor strife, and delays over funding disputes. The results of those delays have pushed project completion into 2016.
What specifically does the Panama Canal Expansion Accomplish?
The project specifically will (Source)
The project will also significantly improve efficiency as the new locks will be easier to maintain and are projected to utilize 7% less water. It will allow ships that are 50% wider and 25 % longer to use the canal; existing container capacity per ship should go from 5000 TEU to 13000 TEU. TEU is Total equivalent 20 ft container units.
What is the expected impact on US shipping?
The exact economic and infrastructure impact on US commerce and shipping is hotly debated, but potentially the project could result in:
Why does Packnet blog about the Panama Canal Expansion?
Packnet blogs about topics relating to packaging and shipping of industrial products. The Panama Canal expansion can potentially impact shipping costs and transit times for export and importing products.