Panama's Expanded Canal Attracts Biz and Tourists

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

July 4, 2016

Photo: Panama Canal Authority

Photo: Panama Canal Authority

 Recent expansion of the Panama Canal should lower shipping costs, say market observers. Shipping geeks will delight at this engineering marvel that revolutionized global maritime trade.

As a major Latin American hub of finance, commerce and transportation, the Panamanian capital is a growing destination for business travellers, says NZ Herald.
For anyone looking to duck out of a convention centre for a few hours, fill a gap between meetings or even if you've just got a long layover at the airport, a visit to Panama City's No.1 attraction and its newly expanded locks makes the perfect side excursion.
“This new transit route is the tip of the iceberg in making Panama once again the logistic center of the Americas,” the Guardian quoted Jorge Luis Quijano, canal administrator, as saying. “And it represents a significant opportunity for the countries of the region to improve their infrastructure [and] increase their exports.”
The expanded Panama Canal will allow bigger ships across the narrow country, which may benefit oil exports from the United States.
According to CS Monitor, the canal expansion opened on June 26 with a third lane that accommodates big ships such as liquified natural gas (LNG) ships, 90 percent of which may now travel across the canal, including those that hold as much as 3.9 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of fuel, according to a report from the US Energy Information Administration released June 30.
The expanded Panama Canal is expected to slash global shipping costs by $8 billion a year, making U.S. agricultural commodities more competitive globally, according to Agweb.
The expanded Canal’s new third lane can accommodate ships more than twice of vessels that pre-expansion. The larger ships can hold up to 4 million bushels of soybeans, nearly double the 2.1 million bushels currently loaded on to a typical ocean vessel.
According to the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, the expanded canal could boost the competitiveness of U.S. grain as reduced transportation and landed costs could make U.S. grain exports more attractive to foreign buyers.
Exports of U.S. liquefied natural gas stand to benefit substantially from the $5.4 billion expansion of the Panama Canal, which will lead to much shorter travel time and much lower costs for shipments from the Gulf Coast to big markets in Asia and South America, says USA Today.
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