Panama Canal Expansion

After a decade of theorising and debate, the reality of how Panama Canal expansion will impact shipping is finally at hand.

The ‘neo-Panamax’ era is about to begin, and it is increasingly obvious that the shipping effects will be far more acute in some sectors than in others. In the container shipping market, major changes are already afoot. Liner operators are upgraded their vessels immediately to take advantage of the expanded locks. In other sectors, such as LNG and LPG, the use of the expanded Panama Canal – or the decision to bypass it – will be driven by cargo interests, not vessel operators.

News & Analysis

The signing of the maritime treaty in November 2017. On left, Panama Minister of Maritime Affairs Jorge Barakat; on right, China Minister of Transport Li Xiaopeng
22 Jun 2018
Panama’s maritime authority is enhancing its co-operation with China on both the seafaring and finance fronts.
Hyundai Mars was ordered in December 2013
08 Jul 2016
South Korea's Hyundai Merchant Marine is set to deploy 10,000 teu ships to its Far East-US East Coast routes, after taking delivery of six 10,055 teu ships from Zodiac Maritime.
A Maersk Line vessel passes through the Panama Canal
27 Jun 2016
Maersk Line, the container shipping unit in the A.P. Moller-Maersk (APM) group of Copenhagen, said that it would send more vessels and that they would be larger than so far through the expanded Panama Canal, which opened for business yesterday.
Panama Canal
26 Jun 2016
IHS Maritime & Trade’s AIS Live data indicate that, among the key vessel types, there have been more than 400 fewer transits of the Panama Canal from the start of 2016 to the end of May than in the same period in 2015.    
03 Jun 2016
Bulkers and tankers are expected to see an evolution – not a revolution – in their deployment patterns after the expanded Panama Canal debuts.
Panama Canal expansion: container sector outlook
03 Jun 2016
As the opening of the expanded Panama Canal draws near, container lines are replacing their Panamaxes with larger neo-Panamaxes at a faster clip than some industry insiders had expected.


After a very strong start, how much room does the expanded Panama Canal have to grow cargo volumes before it needs to build even larger locks?