DP World has big plans for the Panama Canal


Global port and terminal operator DP World is currently in discussion with Panama regarding the use of a business model that could redefine the Panama Canal once its expansion is complete.

The impetus for discussions is the prospect of building additional infrastructure to meet rocketing trade volumes that the expanded canal is anticipated to generate. 

Isabel Saint Malo, Vice President and Foreign Minister of the Republic of Panama is quoted in The National as stating: “Panama has several port operations but we have the potential to build several more. And the model DP World has is a model that Panama is interested in.

“There is interest on their part and there is interest on our part about their model. So, there are different areas where the two can cooperate in terms of building the facilities [and] in terms of running the facilities.”

The expanded Panama Canal, expected to be fully-operational by January, 2016, will allow 13,500 TEU vessels to pass through the waterway, thereby helping to reduce the cost of trade and opening the east-west trade routes up to much higher capacity vessels.

A still of the Panama Canal during expansion. (Source: MWH Global)

According to Seatrade Global, the final shipment of gates for the future locks of the expanded Panama Canal arrived on November 12, 2014.

The final lock gates have been delivered. (Source: G Captain)

In other news, the Panama Canal has been losing competition to the Suez Canal along trade routes between Asia and the US East Coast, due to the Suez Canal’s ability to transport megaships.

The average size of ships sailing through the Suez Canal have a capacity of 7,500 TEU, compared to the 4,500 TEU capacity of the Panama Canal.

However, Drewry shipping consultants have stated that this trend could be reversed once the expansion of the Panama Canal is complete.

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