US East Coast port operators are not expecting immediate growth from the newly expanded Panama Canal, however, they are expecting slow and steady growth over the long term, according to Bloomberg BNA.
Richard Scher, Communications Director for the Port of Baltimore, said: “We were never expecting a massive influx of big ships the second the canal reopened. We expected it to be a slow, measured process. We are expecting to see consistent growth. We did not have [Maersk] in the Port of Baltimore before last year. We were able to get Maersk because of our new shipping cranes and infrastructure.”
Jock O'Connell, International Trade Adviser for the consulting firm Beacon Economics, said: “We are expecting that the opening of the expanded Panama Canal will result in the diversion by 2020 of no more than 5% of the containerized imports currently routed through US West Coast ports.”
The wider Panama Canal and the port changes are allowing bigger ships, which originate from Asia, to service the Atlantic seaboard.
Ports along the US East Coast, such as the Port of New York and New Jersey have spent billions preparing for the wave of ships that will be sailing through in the long term.
Following the inauguration of the Panama Canal on June 26, 2016, the Port of Philadelphia welcomed its first neo-Panamax vessel.