The Panama Canal is a connection between the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean via the Caribbean Sea. It is a 48 miles long ship canal and a major route for the international maritime trade. The Panama Canal expansion project, started by the Panama Canal Authority in 2007, aims to double the canal's capacity by 2015; by introducing larger and wider vessels to the trade route.
With the key objective being to maintain the competitiveness of the canal and to boost the global economy, the Panama Canal expansion project holds great global importance. This project has caught the attention of international community because of the myriad benefits that it would offer for the generations to come. First and foremost, the new lane of traffic added to the canal will raise its navigation capacity to a great extent; thus decreasing the average transit times. Also, it will make up for the times of the instances of bottlenecks that occur during transits. A new lane of locks-structures which are environment friendly water saving basins is being constructed. These are especially beneficial during dry season when water levels in the canal are fairly low. These locks use at least 7 percent less water during transit time. The Panama Canal expansion is also important for the passage of post-Panamax vessels, like the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller, which require extremely deep and wide navigation channels.
Additionally, this Panama Canal expansion project would create a lot of employment opportunities. Reduced transit time means more cargo will reach at the terminals in less time and thus more staff will be required to handle and distribute the cargo, as well as for other business related to facilitating transactions. The impact of the project will be felt in several emerging maritime markets including the West coast of the United States and the East coast of South America, especially Brazil. The exports and imports of various commodities like coal and iron ore, and grain and soya bean will be facilitated with this new project. Moreover the successful completion of the project is extremely essential, when keeping in mind its current competitor passages like the Suez Canal and the inter-modal system in the U.S.