Panama Canal Expansion Prompts U.S. Ports to Prepare

The canal's scheduled opening in April 2016 will allow some of the biggest ships in the world to cut a quicker path to U.S. ports.

📅   Mon April 20, 2015 - National Edition
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Worker on the Miraflores locks, Panama-Canal, Panama.
Worker on the Miraflores locks, Panama-Canal, Panama.

USA TODAY is reporting that the much-anticipated $5.25 billion expansion of the Panama Canal — the historic 48-mile waterway that snakes a watery path between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans in this Central American country — has been marred by delays and overspending. But its scheduled opening in April 2016 will allow some of the biggest ships in the world, able to carry up to 14,000 containers, to cut a quicker path to U.S. ports, particularly those on the Eastern Seaboard.

The expansion project was a key topic of conversation at last week’s Seventh Summit of the Americas, which drew leaders from 35 countries in the hemisphere. President Obama visited the canal during his two-day visit here. The expansion was scheduled to be completed last year, in time for the canal’s 100th anniversary, but cost overruns and labor disputes delayed it.

Meanwhile, U.S. ports are busy deepening harbors and building bigger terminals to draw the bigger ships. Across the USA, public ports and their private sector partners will spend more than $46 billion in port-related improvements through 2016, according to the American Association of Port Authorities.

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