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.
Panama Canal's Miraflores locks
29 Apr 2016
Claims by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) at a press conference in Panama City that new locks built for the Panama Canal expansion will be unsafe in operation have been strongly rejected by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP).
March 2016 - second island taking shape; credit: Boskalis
15 Apr 2016
With work underway on a second offshore island, Boskalis Panama is well positioned for even more projects within the country and the surrounding region, reports Michele Labrut
MIT recently completed its expansion; credit: MIT
15 Apr 2016
Following major infrastructure investments, Panama’s ports are gearing up to reap the benefits of the expanded canal, reports Michele Labrut
ACP dredging head Rolando Gordon; credit: Michele Labrut
15 Apr 2016
The Panama Canal Authority’s dredging initiatives extend well beyond its historic expansion plan, reports Michele Labrut. Part of the forthcoming Panama special feature in IHS Dredging and Port Construction magazine
Gatun lake
22 Mar 2016
The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) will set draught restrictions on shipping using the vital Asia-Americas waterway as the El Niño weather phenomenon causes water levels to fall well below average for this time of year.


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?