Bigger ships that will use the enlarged Panama Canal will have a major impact on US ports, according to a study by the US Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration.
The study of shipping patterns and industry costs aims to help the US prepare for the effect of the Post Panamax ships on its ports, waterways and intermodal freight systems from the Panama Canal expansion, which is due for completion in 2015.
This study, the first of two parts, found the integration of Post-Panamax vessels into US trade lanes will have substantial implications for the nation’s shippers, ports and surface freight corridors, particularly along the East Coast, Gulf Coast and inland states located east of the Mississippi River.
However, the more cost-effective service generated by the larger ships could boost some US exports, like grain, coal, petroleum products and liquefied natural gas, which compete in global markets. The report noted that changes in shipping patterns will occur slowly and over time.
Acting Maritime Administrator Paul Jaenichen said: “Preparation is the key and some ports are deepening their harbours and improving intermodal connections.”