Panama Canal

The Maersk shipping revolution is having effects on the global shipping route preferences. Since the Panama Canal has begun undergoing renovations, Maersk has made ships so large that they are practically immune from pirate raids off the horn of Africa. They have also made it more efficient from an economical standpoint to accumulate large shipments at a fraction of the fuel cost. Now a shipment from the far East can hit Natal or Miami at almost the same time either via the Suez Canal or the Panama Canal.

I know it is still “in” to be obsessed with Asia. I am definitely not an “Asian” guy. I think that most of the people in the logistics field are missing the signficance of a larger Panama Canal. Sure, the Panama Canal might now permanently loose business to it’s Suez Canal rival. However, the Panama Canal is reinforcing and strengthening the trade that will really matter in the upcoming century: inter-American commerce. The dredging and new construction in several southern ports like Houston, New Orleans, Miami, Savannah, and Norfolk will facilitate trade with Central and South America- forget Asia. Also, maybe finally the U.S. will trade more with its southern neighbors instead of primarily worrying about trade across the Atlantic.

I think what would be important to look out for is whether East Asian shipments can arrive quicker via the Suez Canal (or the Cape of Africa) to the eastern portions of Brazil. In particular, cities like Fortaleza or Bahia. This could be a factor that would counteract stronger inter-American trade.

Trade Routes

http://www.worldcrunch.com/eyes-on-the-u.s./the-big-winners-and-losers-of-the-panama-canal-expansion/shipping-port-of-miami-florida-california/c5s11407/

http://www.pancanal.com/eng/expansion/

http://www.pancanal.com/eng/photo/webcams-works.html

http://www.asafashar.com/images.html

http://people.hofstra.edu/geotrans/eng/ch3en/conc3en/main_maritime_shipping_routes.html

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