Panama Canal expansion to reshape America’s ports, says CBRE
The Panama Canal Expansion Project, the first major renovation the canal has undergone since its opening in 1914, is a milestone that will have a major impact on the global trade industry, and specifically, the way cargo is handled and transported throughout North America, according to CBRE.
Scheduled to open in April 2016, the larger canal will be able to accommodate a new line of Post-Panamax vessels — super tankers, container and passenger ships too large to pass through the canal, pre-expansion. The USD 5.25 billion expansion project has already created a new set of locks that will accommodate these larger vessels, providing shippers easier access to North America.
“Now you can have these massive ships go directly to the East Coast, and that is going to drastically change the way merchandise is distributed,” says Carla Lopez, head of research in Latin America for CBRE.
Ports on the East Coast are spending billions to deepen their harbours, increase their bridge heights and transform their infrastructure to accommodate larger vessels that bring with them more cargo and potentially more business. But how immediately this influx of new business — in the form of cargo shipped from Asia directly to the East Coast — will land in the reconfigured ports has yet to be determined, says CBRE.