Its influence on international trade for the past century has been immeasurable.
And now it is undergoing a face lift of a magnitude that would make an aging Hollywood starlet blush. But unlike the starlets’s dalliance with the nip-and-tuck, this makeover is anything but superficial.
The Panama Canal Expansion project will have enormous economic impact on global trade and investment in North American infrastructure for decades to come. It is truly a fascinating story where technological brilliance once again meets human ingenuity and fortitude in the same regional backdrop.
Natalia Kosk wrote a terrific article for Supply & Demand Chain Executive last week that explains and summarizes the project:
Set for completion in 2014, there’s no doubt that the $5.2 billion Panama Canal expansion will drive economic growth not only on a national level and for its surrounding areas but to U.S. East and West Coast ports as well. The project already is helping to initiate national developments, including a partnership formed earlier this year between financial and professional services firm Jones Lang LaSalle and XY Group, a China-based rail system manufacturer. It is targeting the construction and financing of private sector intermodal projects for its North America market entry. Most recently, the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) granted permits to a private development group (Jones Lang LaSalle as acting development advisor to the project) for the construction and operation of a new container terminal to be built at the Atlantic entrance of the Panama Canal.
“There are no losing parties in all of this,” confirmed John Carver, Head of Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle’s Ports Airports and Global Infrastructure (PAGI) group. “The Panama Canal expansion provides an opportunity for the East and the Gulf Coast ports to capture new market share because of the increased volume that is expected to be coming through the canal as a result of the new locks that will open in 2014.”
The expansion will allow greater traffic flow through the canal and accommodate the next generation of “Super Post-Panamax” vessels, named because they exceed the size limitations of the existing canal system. Prior to the expansion, vessels passing through the canal reached a size of roughly 4,500 TEUs. (Read more…)
I have posted below two videos that bring the expansion project to life, and provide some visual context which describes the enormity of the initiative.
The first was developed about 9 months ago by MWH Global Inc., a significant partner in the expansion project. It explains in some detail, in a little under 10 minutes, the scope of the project and in particular the “Third Set of Locks.”
MWH President and COO Alan Krause provides an overview of the design of the Third Set of Locks project of the Panama Canal Expansion. The Third Set of Locks will double the Canal’s capacity, providing significant benefits to the local, regional and global economies. The design-build contract for implementation of the project was awarded by the Panama Canal Authority to international consortium Grupo Unidos Por el Canal (GUPC) in July 2009. MWH is the lead technical designer in the design joint venture CICP Consultores Internacionales, LLC.
The second, much shorter video (less than two minutes long), provides an interesting animation of the locks at work:
Your comments and feedback are welcome.
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