Panama has begun expansion of the Panama Canal, (described here) with the intention passing ships three times as large as those currently able to use the canal.
Meanwhile Panama is hoping US ports will be expanded to accept the larger ships,
“By WALTER C. JONES – Morris News Service – ATLANTA — The administrator of the Panama Canal chastised U.S. and Canadian officials Tuesday for not preparing their ports to take advantage of the expansion his country is undertaking. Alberto Aleman Zubieta, CEO of the Panama Canal Authority, stressed that Panama is doubling the canal’s capacity by widening its system of locks and waterways to accommodate ships three times the current maximum. But Panama won’t realize the full benefits if East Coast ports aren’t also enhanced to accept those ships. “What concerns me is how long it takes to do these types of projects and that they are not now being done in the U.S.,” Aleman was quoted as saying by Modern Materials Handling magazine.
“He made his comments to the logistics managers attending the inaugural trade show of MODEX, sponsored by the Material Handling Industry of America. In two years, the canal will celebrate its 100th anniversary with the completion of its expansion project. East Coast ports like Savannah, Jacksonville and Charleston hope to attract that added traffic. However, none are deep enough for the larger ships to enter fully loaded except at high tide. Only ports in New York and Virginia can now.”
This is likely to have a long term impact of the relative importance of ports in the US with ports that can accommodate these larger ships doing relatively better than ports unable to accept them.
(Photo credit: Photo #: 80-G-701369, Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.)