Panama Canal preparations under full sail

The Panama Canal expansion - expected to be complete by 2014 - has seaports throughout the hemisphere readying for a new competitive landscape. For most, that means offering value-added services designed to move inbound goods faster than ever before. Here’s where the preparations currently stand.

The Expansion of the Panama Canal (Third Set of Locks Project) is a project, proposed by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), that will double the capacity of the Panama Canal by 2014 by allowing more and larger ships to transit.

By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
February 24, 2011 - LM Editorial

For Claude Mongeau, CN president and chief executive officer, this represents another important supply chain collaboration with the principal stakeholders of a vital gateway for international trade.

“This agreement fully aligns the interests of CN, the PRPA, and Maher in achieving continuous performance improvement at the port; will permit transparency in data collection; and encourage balanced accountability of port stakeholders,” he says.

Mongeau also recognized Maher Terminals as the first container terminal operator to engage in electronic data interchange with CN—a major step forward, allowing both parties to quickly capture and measure all events in the supply chain from container vessel discharge at port to arrival at final destination.

CN has signed the same agreements with the Port of Halifax and its two container terminal operators, Port Metro Vancouver and two of its container terminal operators, and the Port of Quebec and one of its terminal operators.

Raising bridges
On the other side of the continent, Halifax and The Port of New York/New Jersey have been investing in infrastructure and ramping up services. Canadian exporters welcomed the inauguration of the first vessel in CMA-CGM’s expanded Black Pearl service last December.

This weekly and direct container service to ports in Panama, Ecuador, Peru, and Chile makes use of the South End Container Terminal, which is operated by Halterm Container Terminal Limited at the Port of Halifax. The Port of Halifax continues as CMA-CGM’s Canadian port and intermodal Canadian gateway with the extension by CMA CGM of its Black Pearl service to the West Coast of South America.

Jean-Yves Duval, vice president of Caribbean and Latin America Lines for CMA-CGM Group, says that thanks to these new calls on the West Coast of South America, CMA-CGM will provide shippers with a direct transportation option to support the development of the growing markets between Canada and the West Coast of South America. This upgraded service will not only offer extended coverage, but also increase the numerous connections into the Caribbean, Central America, and the East Coast of South America.

At the same time, the Halifax Port Authority is working with the operators of the Halifax Grain Elevator to expand and develop an export market for “pulse” products from the region. “Pulse” products included edible seeds of legumes, such as beans, peas, chickpeas, and lentils that can be shipped around the world to emerging markets in container ships rather than by traditional bulk and/or breakbulk vessels.

“Before this container loading technology was installed here, these soybeans would have been transloaded from hundreds of miles away,” says Duval.

About the Author

Patrick Burnson
Executive Editor

Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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