An Overview of Panama Canal Expansion Program
– as written in BE Business Excellence
Jorge Quijano, executive vice president of engineering with the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), recently spoke with Jayne Alverca of Business Excellence Online about taking Central America’s most high profile infrastructure program from concept to completion.
Owing to a unique strategic location that dissects the American continent to connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Panama Canal has had a transformative effect on world maritime commerce. Many of the patterns of international trade that shape the contemporary global economy owe their existence to this very special waterway. From a national perspective, the canal is even more important. It contributes around 20 percent of Panama’s GDP and is intrinsically linked to Panamanian national identity and pride as well as the country’s aspirations for economic growth.
The Canal’s origins are rooted in a distant colonial past. The French first attempted to link the two oceans at the turn of 20th century but were defeated by the malaria and yellow fever, the heavy rainfalls typical of the tropical rainforest, and financial woes. It was left to the US to complete construction of the first two-lane canal and the initial set of locks which became operational in 1914. On the eve of the Second World War, the Americans attempted to build a second set of locks which would allow the transit of larger commercial vessels and war ships. The work was started in 1939 but aborted as a consequence of World War II and the canal has since had no quantum upgrades.
Since 1999, when the US finally ceded control of the canal to the Republic of Panama, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), which operates as an autonomous agency of the Government of Panama, has had the task of managing this vital commercial waterway.
As the canal moves towards celebrating the 100th anniversary of its inauguration, ACP marches on its spectacular program of workswhich will double the canal’s capacity and enable it to accommodate the new generation of super container vessels.By allowing larger vessels and increasing capacity, the expansion program will open the canal to new routes and previously untapped markets.During the next 20 years, it is estimated that cargo volumes moving through the canal will grow an average of three percent per annum, almost doubling the tonnage of 2005 by 2025. If maritime trade continues to accelerate after the recession, that figure could increase significantly.
Read the rest of the article at BE – Business Excellence Online