US East to Pinch 10% of Panama Traffic
Panama-Guide Top Level Category - The Expansion of the Panama Canal
On 22 October 2006 the citizens of Panama voted to expand the Panama Canal to allow for more transits and bigger ships. The Panama Canal Authority has started to execute the project and is following a comprehensive plan that will take eight years to complete at a cost of $5.25 billion dollars. While this is a subject of tremendous importance to the Republic of Panama and its people, the international maritime industry will benefit directly from the expansion through lower shipping costs, and global consumers will eventually benefit from the greater capacity and efficiency of the Panama Canal.
Furthermore, Panama also faces new competition from the incredibly ambitious Nicaragua Canal project.
Funded by the Hong Kong Nicaragua Development Group, the project aims to drill through Nicaragua and have a fully functioning canal by 2020 that can accept even bigger ships than Panama.
However, the viability of the project has been questioned intensely.