Global Shipping Routes and the “New” Panama Canal

$300 Million Harbor Deepening Moves to Water – ABC News.

The State Ports Authority wants the harbor channel deepened from 45 feet to 50 feet so the port can handle larger container ships that will routinely call when the Panama Canal is expanded.

With the canal expansion set to open in 2014, harbors and ports across the US are preparing for the new ships: Post Panamax vessels.  Already 30% of shipping vessels are the giant Post-Panamax type.

How will shipping costs change?  What affect will that have on consumers?

And how will this new volume of containers be transported away from port?  According to GlobalSecurity,

One train is physically limited to 240 40-foot containers. Therefore, about 10 double-stack trains would have to be arranged to move the inbound containers from one such 9000 TEU ship. Those problems can be solved through infrastructure improvement. Container vessels in the size range of 400-3,000 teu still hold a very important part of the freight market.

Who pays for this “infrastructure improvement”?  How much congestion will this create on highways if trucks are used, instead?  Are cities and states really prepared for this influx?  We’ll find out soon…

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