Panama Canal Authority Administrator Jorge L. Quijano says the expanded canal should be open as early as June, following delays costing the authority more than a half billion dollars. Quijano recently told the American Journal of Transportation (AJOT) that the opening of the expanded canal will not be as late as “early the second part of this year,” as stated Jan. 18 by Francisco Miguez, the authority’s executive vice president of finance and administration of the Panama Canal Authority, at the SMC3 Jump Start 2016 conference in Atlanta, Ga.
“I apologize if that’s what he (Miguez) said,” Quijano told AJOT prior to speaking at an American Association of Port Authorities conference in Tampa. “Early May or late May, we should be functional, and maybe June for the inauguration. I firmly believe it’s achievable for us to have inauguration sometime in June.” However, he added, “If there’s a hiccup in between, all bets are off.”
Quijano said efforts as recently as discussions the preceding day with the contractor have failed to elicit a specific completion date, commenting, “We are pushing him, and he is not giving us a date.”
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Editors Insight: The canal expansion has already stimulated the deepening of several U.S. ports on the East Coast and Gulf Cost which will attract larger ships and create growth of food and beverage logistics services. The expansion is adding a deeper and wider third lane and a new system of locks to accommodate the new massive vessels that steamship lines are increasingly deploying.
The expansion could bring a lot more Asian trade to U.S. East Coast ports.
Some observers believe the expansion will as much as triple the amount of cargo moving through the canal. Such expansion could reduce cargo costs per unit, further fueling trade.
Some cold chain observers say more investment is needed in reefer container technology to support the expansion of the global cold chain. Increasing global trade could help justify these investments. 1-26-16 By Elliot Maras