The Chinese COSCO Shipping Panama container vessel has made the first historic megaship crossing of the Panama Canal, an event that will have a significant impact on the world trade.
Cargo ships with tripled transportation capacity that could not shorten their inter oceanic voyages because of century old canal locks can now manipulate the Extended Panama Canal and enter into what some economists refer to as “the Post-Panamax era.”
The Suez Canal, managed by Egypt, was until now, the only canal that allowed the transit of megaships between the Indian and the Atlantic oceans.
However, the costs of some commercial routes between North America and Asia or South America have increased through use of this alternative.
The new facility, mainly built by the Panamanians themselves, included deepening and dredging Gatún Lake, located in the centre of the seaway.
The channel, which connects to the Pacific, has locks in the Northern and Southern accesses and has three chambers, 427 m long, 55 m wide and 18.3 m deep.
According to experts, this change in sea transportation will also result in changes in the logistical operation parameters of world production sectors.
According to the US economist K.C. Conway, it could also significantly alter production costs and investment decision criteria, the relocation of productive and commercial infrastructure, the duration of designproduction-consumption cycles, business operation models and asset valuations.
In this context the Mariel Development Zone in northern Cuba is strategically located at an equidistant position to the region’s main ports, including the United States’ east and southeast ports.
Its deep bay also allows the entrance of neo-Panamax ships, which can be serviced by the new container terminal.
Orlando Allard, an official at the Panamanian Maritime Chamber, told The Havana Reporter, that the port of Mariel fulfils all the zone’s redistribution requirements.
He added that, from a geographical point of view, the Mariel Zone is located in the centre of present and future regional trade developments.
Other ports in the region competing for megaships that sail the inter oceanic route include: Kingston, Jamaica; Freeport, The Bahamas; Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago; Caucedo, in Dominican Republic; Cartagena, Colombia and others located on both coasts of the Panamanian fluvial route.
It has been predicted that the Extended Panama Canal will bring about changes in world production processes and will transform the organizational matrixes of a large part of today’s production and trade.
“Being part of history” is more than just a trendy slogan in Panama. The works for the expansion of the Canal represented a huge human challenge, and Panamanians will surely feel proud to have been the protagonists of a major event that has a guaranteed place of honor in the modern world.Share on FB Share on TT