The Panama Canal was a major logistical narrow for the American hemisphere since its establishment in 1914, the process of globalization has seriously gained strength through years and it looks to increase its power over the world's economies tied to the international trade that propel the comparative advantages of all countries in their prosperity.
The Panama Canal brings benefits to the trade flow driving the Central American nation to expand its current water path connecting the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean creating a greater assistance by opening access to most of the world’s top ten international ports moving goods between the PortMiami and Asia as well as another major U.S. east ports.
The Canal has been able to handle vessels up to about 5,000 Twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) in the past but expansion will allow new-panama vessels with a length of 1,400 feet and cargo capacity up to 13,000/14,000 TEUs. Due my own experience living in Panama in 2007 I have been able to count 40 vessels from the Amador’s causeway making line to get access to the Panama Canal, so this expansion will reduce the locking time and thus significantly reducing the traffic congestion and the traveling time for ships crossing the narrow.
It has encouraged the cruiser industry to use the Panama Canal since they could reach the boom of Asian travelers now. According a report released by Cruise Line International Association, the number of passenger from Mainland China has increased in 79 percent per year, between 2012 and 2014, from 216,700 to 697,000. The cruiser industry estimates this market will grow more than 4 million passengers over the next several years.
Also, the expansion will change the PortMiami’s cargo pie chart in which shows their shipping traffic from Far East in 34% currently, since this port is ready for the new generation of the big ships with super post-panamax gantry cranes, one-dock intermodal rail service and the completion of the Deep Dredge Project with an investment of more than $1 billion.
“PortMiami is now positioned as the most reliable, convenient and efficient global hub on the North American East Coast ready to service the world’s leading ocean carriers," said PortMiami Director and CEO Juan M. Kuryla.
Finally, the economic impact will be huge for markets involved in these projects to attract more business, tourism, new jobs, developments, research and investments, in the future further boosted by the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and other trade agreements. Definitely, this year will be an important footpath for the globalization and the economies of scale.
Author Joel Fernandez is Global Advisor for Global Chamber® Miami.