The Panama Canal expansion and its impact on world trade

Authorship

Marianela Dengo, Customer Relations Unit Manager, Market Research and Analysis, Panama Canal Authority

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In 2007, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) started work on its $5.25 billion expansion project, which will change world trade patterns and open the waterway to new markets.The expansion will double canal capacity by 2014 and allow for the transit of larger and wider vessels, with a 160 foot beam, 1200 foot LOA and 50 foot of draft. To provide for the transit of today’s post-Panamax vessels, the most powerful dredging equipment in the world is currently deepening the waterway’s entrances in the Pacific and the Atlantic, while huge excavators open the access channel that will join the post-Panamax locks with narrowest section of the canal -the Gaillard Cut. In this section of the canal, explosives are being used to deepen and widen the navigational channel to make space for the larger vessels that will use the waterway in the near future. Thousands of cubic meters of concrete are currently being poured in the new locks- structures which will incorporate environmentally-friendly water- saving basins. These new locks will use 7 percent less water per transit.

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