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Thursday, June 29 2017 @ 06:57 AM EDT

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Panama Canal no quick-fix for traffic jam

Canal Expansion The Panama Canal, while currently coping with the growth in tonnage and transits, is unlikely to be able to mitigate the continuing pressure on North American West Coast ports and rail infrastructure over the next 10 years, findings of a recent study by APL show. The APL-commissioned research by Drewry Shipping Consultants indicated that use of the Panama Canal climbed sharply last year as shippers moved to all-water services in response to congestion at U.S. West Coast ports and deteriorating performance of the trans-continental railroads. While the Panama Canal Authority is making improvements that will have the result of improving its capacity over the next several years, Drewry's projections showed that a 3% annual growth in vessel numbers would be enough to swallow the increased throughput by as early as 2008.
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If Panama builds it, they may come

Canal Expansion Panama is wrestling with the biggest decision in its history - build a new canal at a cost that may be not much less than the value its annual output, with all the risk that implies, or do nothing, and let the existing waterway deteriorate, along with the country’s ports and terminals. Within a few years, much of the world’s cargo fleet will be too big to pass through Panama, unless the country accepts the huge risk involved in building a new canal. The first big hurdle would consist of financing the project, which will cost at least $5 billion and maybe twice as much. This money would have to come from foreign investors. But the annual value of Panama’s output is only around $14 billion, and the country already owes national and foreign creditors close to $9 billion.
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Expect a National Referendum in 2006

Canal Expansion The Administrator of the Panama Canal (ACP), Alberto Alemán Zubieta, indicated they should have the final details worked out regarding plans to expand the Panama Canal during the first months of 2006. The ACP's Board of Directors should analize the proposal, and if adopted, it will go the the Cabinet and eventually to the Assembly. But the Panamanian people will have the last word and will decide wether or not to expand the canal in a national referendum.
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Panama Canal Maintenance Schedule and Reduced Traffic

Canal Expansion The Panama Canal normally has a transit capacity of 38 vessels per day. The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) routinely has to shut down the canal's locks in order to conduct preventive maintenance. These outages are announced to the world through the ACP's website well in advance of the work outage. A 10-day lane outage is common, and can cause back-ups in traffic. Ships are scheduled to transit the canal through agents, and they make their reservations well in advance. Even though, an outage can cause significant delays and cause ships to get backed up in the parking lots, awaiting their turn to pass.
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PANAMA CANAL “WON’T BE ABLE TO COPE”

Canal Expansion A new Drewry report, commissioned by Singapore-based Neptune Orient Line’s container shipping line, APL, shows the Panama Canal, while currently coping with the growth in tonnage/transits, is unlikely to be able to mitigate the continuing pressure on North American West Coast Ports and rail infrastructure over the next 10 years. The report finds that, while The Panama Canal Authority is making improvements that will have the result of improving its capacity over the next several years, a 3% annual growth in vessel numbers would be enough to swallow the increased throughput by as early as 2008.
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Bush Backs Enlarging Panama Canal

Canal Expansion PANAMA CITY, Panama (AP) - President Bush voiced his support on Monday for expanding the Panama Canal to allow bigger ships and more cargo to pass through the shortcut between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Bush said Panama must acknowledge that the 50-mile waterway ``is to be used by everybody, that the canal is international, that there ought to be ... equal access.'' Panama is studying plans for widening and deepening the canal that could cost nearly $10 billion. The project must be approved in a national referendum, amid concerns about the environmental impact and the heavy debt involved.
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Enlarging Panama Canal is engineers' chance of lifetime

Canal ExpansionTo the world, the Panama Canal is a 51-mile long wonder slicing between two continents, carved by American ingenuity, money and mettle. To engineer Andy Harkness, of Bethel Park, it's a passageway to dreams; a reason to pore over drawings for 11 hours a day, seven days a week for three months straight; a reason to battle through pneumonia while fretting over the potential effects of an earthquake or runaway freighter. Harkness is among a team of local engineers anxiously waiting to see whether Panama, which took over control of the canal in 1999, will approve adding a third set of locks, a project that would cost $5 billion to $10 billion and take 10 years to complete. Voters in Panama are expected to decide the issue next year. See: http://pittsburghlive.com/x/tribune-review/trib/pittsburgh/s_375254.html

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Tight squeeze: Expansion plans hit political problems

Canal ExpansionThe government hoped that if it first got its own finances in order, the PCA would be able to borrow the funds for expansion more cheaply. This could cost $5 billion-11 billion, according to Mr Armuelles. Some Panamanians worry that enthusiasm for canal expansion might be outweighed by a desire to punish the government. For now, expansion is as stuck as a post-Panamax ship in a canal lock. (Jul 21st 2005 | PANAMA CITY, From The Economist print edition)

See: http://www.economist.com/world/la/displayStory.cfm?story_id=4199077

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Panama Canal expansion may force toll rise

Canal ExpansionBy Robert Wright,Transport Correspondent: Tolls on the Panama Canal may have to increase nearly four-fold to fund the canal's planned expansion - a move that could reduce the waterway's competitiveness against alternatives. Transit fees would have to start increasing by at least 5.8 per cent a year annually between 2008 and 2029 to meet the estimated $7bn (€5.4bn, £4bn) cost of new locks and canal widening, according to a report to be published today by Global Insight, an international economic consultancy. (Note: This is the article that Stanley Muchette was responding to. The original story was changed to make the cost estimate $6bn).

See: http://news.ft.com/cms/s/cad59cd2-f33a-11d9-843f-00000e2511c8.html
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Panama Canal expansion study was a baseless analysis

Canal ExpansionFrom Dr Stanley Muschett: Sir, Robert Wright's report "Panama Canal expansion may force toll rise" (July 13) on Global Insight's Panama Canal expansion study misses the mark. Regarding the summary and highlights that have been revealed in the press about the Global Insight report on canal expansion: this study is a canard - a baseless analysis. It can only be characterised as a marketing ploy to make money - a study in which the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) was asked to participate in and provide data for. The request was declined.

See the full article at: http://news.ft.com/cms/s/e8960598-f7f1-11d9-9f64-00000e2511c8.html
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Expansion of the Panama Canal: A Primer

Canal ExpansionThe Panamanian government has now reformed their tax laws and their social security system. Now, they will be gearing up to pass a national referendum on the expansion of the Panama Canal. Since this issue will be dominating the local news for the next few months, it's a good time to take a look at the basic issues.
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