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Are Shippers Prepared for the Panama Canal Expansion?

Wednesday, June 8th – The Panama Canal is set to open its two newest locks this month after nearly 10 years of constructions. Many of North America’s major ports have been in a race to be prepared for the world’s largest container ships – are they ready and how will this impact your ocean import/export business?

According to Keri Forsythe-Stephens of Global Trade, ports have been deepening their harbor channels and renovating their terminal facilities in preparation for handling Post-Panamax ships. Here Global Trade gives an update on most of the ports affected by the expansion and their progress.

The Panama expansion includes two new sets of locks that will allow it to accommodate mega ships. These ships are able to carry nearly 3 times as many containers and it is expected to change global shipping routes.

How It Affects Your Business

  • Schedules: carriers will be changing ports of calls and schedules will be effected.
  • Competition: more competition between ports could improve efficiency at other ports.
  • Congestion: with more ports being called, congestion at other ports should decrease.

How You Should Handle It

  • Monitor Routing Options: ensure you are getting service to the nearest available port. As more ports come on line with major carriers, the options will expand.
  • Take Advantage of Better Transit Times: new ports of call could mean better transit times. Ensure you are working with your suppliers to keep supply chain running efficiently.
  • Shop for Cost Saving Options: additional options likely will unveil new opportunities for transportation savings.

Big ships are looking to be the future and port expansion is a must, this trend’s likely to continue and develop over time. Keep all of this in mind as you assess your shipping strategy in the future.

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