Panama Canal Expansion: What Does it Mean for Florida?

             The Panama Canal Expansion project (also called the Third Set of Locks Project) is projected to be completed in April of 2015.  The project was announced with the purpose of increasing Panama’s ability to benefit from the growing traffic demand manifested in both the increased cargo volumes and the size of the vessels that will use this route.  This expansion will double the capacity of the Panama Canal by creating a new lane of traffic and allowing more and larger ships to transit. This project will improve on the current Panama Canal by building two new locks, one on each of the Atlantic and Pacific sides. It will excavate new channels to the new locks and widen existing channels and, this expansion project will raise Gatun Lake’s maximum operating level.

              The Canal Authority predicts that transit cargo volume will increase by an average of 3 percent a year, which will double 2005’s tonnage by 2025. The expansion will create demand for ports to handle post-Panamax ships, which will be much larger in size.  The U.S. ports of Baltimore, Norfolk, and Miami are now ready for these larger vessels, and other ports are undergoing renovations in order to accommodate these post-Panamax ships.

            In Florida, Governor Rick Scott has proclaimed that with the expansion of the Panama Canal, that he is confident the state can become the top export state in the nation. Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce stated that by taking advantage of this expansion, he expects to “double Florida-origin exports in the years to come, and to create more high-skill, high-wage manufacturing jobs.” The Panama Canal expansion has Florida’s logistics and distribution industry poised to grow further.  U.S. Trade Representative believes that this expansion can have “an explosive impact” on our ability to export from the U.S., and that Florida is going to be greatly benefited by these newfound abilities.

            The expansion of the Panama Canal will be a great advantage to importers and exporters in Florida. With the new features of the Panama Canal, and Miami being one of the few U.S. ports equipped to handle these “post-Panamax ” ships, Florida in the near term has a huge advantage over other U.S. states in their ability to handle larger volumes of cargo.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.