Panama Canal expansion “lot of hype”

The projected 2015 completion of the expansion and widening of the Panama Canal is causing a “lot of hype,” but will not drive a major change in maritime shipping options, a top intermodal executive is predicting.

By ·

The projected 2015 completion of the expansion and widening of the Panama Canal is causing a “lot of hype,” but will not drive a major change in maritime shipping options, a top intermodal executive is predicting.

When the project to widen the canal is completed in 2015, longer and wider ships will be able to pass through its locks, allowing big manufacturers shorter access to ports on the Gulf of Mexico and the East Coast. However, Paul Svindland, chief operating officer at Pacer International and a former Maersk executive, says that “at end of the day expanding the Canal does not affect demand patterns on the East Coast.”

Right now Port of Baltimore is one of only two ports on the East Coast—the other is the Port of Virginia in Norfolk—that can handle the large, post-Panamax cargo ships. Baltimore recently completed a major expansion, which included building a 50-foot berth and dredging the channel.

However, Svindland is predicting that the effect of the Panama Canal expansion will be more focused on giving maritime carriers greater options in the way they utilize their vessels, rather than changing domestic shipping patterns. “What I think you may see is a change in the carriers and the type of vessels they put in the market place,” Svindland says.

The biggest impact on shippers may be on rates, Svindland adds. “Rates may soften because there will be (more) capacity.”

Stevan Bobb, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at the BNSF Railway, aggress. “Whatever should shift to the East Coast already has shifted there,” says Bobb.

“We don’t anticipate any substantial change, and it’s up to us to provide the service from the West Coast ports to make sure it doesn’t change.”

Svindland and Bobb made their comments during a question and answer session following release of the 24th Annual State of Logistics Report.


About the Author

John D. Schulz
John D. Schulz has been a transportation journalist for more than 20 years, specializing in the trucking industry. John is on a first-name basis with scores of top-level trucking executives who are able to give shippers their latest insights on the industry on a regular basis.

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

Ocean Shipping · Panama Canal · All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
Digital Issue: The Current State of Third-Party Logistics Services
It has become quite clear that logistics professionals are now facing an unprecedented set of challenges. From tightening capacity, to ongoing regulation hurdles, to the complexity brought on by e-commerce, today’s shippers are transforming the way they manage their logistics operations.
Download Today!
From the June 2017 Issue
Here are five trends that every shipper­—and potential shipper—must watch as the demand for experienced logistics and supply chain professionals soars.
2017 Rail/Intermodal Roundtable: Volume stable, business steady
Cross-Border Logistics: NAFTA tune-up time
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Women in Logistics: Breaking Gender Roles to Win the War for Talent
In this session you'll hear from a panel of women who are now leading top-level logistics and supply chain operations. The panel will share their success stories as well as advice for women who are now making their way up the ladder.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
2017 Top 50 3PLs: Investment and Consolidation Maintain Traction
The trend set over the past few years for mergers and acquisitions has hardly subsided, and a fresh...
The Evolution of the Digital Supply Chain
Everyone is talking about terms like digitization, Industry 4.0 and digital supply chain management,...

2017 Salary Survey: Fresh Voices Express Optimism
Our “33rd Annual Salary Survey” reflects more diversity entering the logistics management...
LM Exclusive: Major Modes Join E-commerce Mix
While last mile carriers receive much of the attention, the traditional modal heavyweights are in...