BRUNSWICK, GEORGIA – Progress on the Panama Canal’s massive expansion project is nearly completed, Jorge L Quijano, chief executive officer of the Panama Canal Authority told attendees of the 47th Georgia Foreign Trade Conference, saying that the expansion would be completed “hopefully by the end of this year or very shortly thereafter.”
Necessary dredging projects, including the Atlantic and Pacific entrances and lake-level channels, are complete, as is 85% of the excavation. The main locks are completed, he says, and 4.2 million cubic metres of the expansion’s total 4.4 million cubic metres of concrete have been poured.
The Panama Canal is responsible for 5.5% of the world’s container trade and 10.5% of the world’s grain trade, Quijano said at the conference, but has lost ground to the Suez Canal, which can handle more traffic and larger ships than Panama, and intermodal transport in the US in recent years.
Once completed, the expansion will allow the canal to offer lower prices for some shipments. “Economies of scale is the major product we’re selling,” Quijano said, including lower costs to shipping lines, which should translate to lower costs for importers and exporters and lower prices for consumers. “The expansion will definitely impact the supply chain.”
– Gregory Glass