Full steam ahead.
The Panama Canal’s container shipping segment is expected to continue to grow over the next several years.
That’s the word from Argelus Moreno de Ducreux, head of the Canals Liner Services Segment. In an interview with Hellenics Shipping News, he said all of the Canal’s shipping segments are growing steadily.
But it is the container segment that has experienced the strongest growth since the Expanded Canal was finished in 2016, de Ducreux said.
His comments came In March, shortly after he spoke at the Intermodal Conference in California and just before he traveled to Tennessee to attend Supply Chain Management Professionals Edge 2018. Both events provided de Ducreux with an opportunity to highlight the Canal’s success.
According to de Ducreux, the average size of container vessels traversing the waterway has increased by 28 percent since the Expanded Canal was completed. he believes that growth will only continue and that container volume will increase by 6 percent annually.
That growth will simply solidify the Canal’s place of importance in the world marketplace while permitting goods to be more easily transported from place to place, de Ducreux explained.
Among the winners, since the Expanded Canal completion is the ports along the eastern coast of the United States, he said. Besides a receiving a higher number of imported goods, the ports are also upping the amount of money they spend on new equipment in order to keep up with demand, de Ducreux said.
He pointed to the Port of Boston, which has seen a 14 percent increase in the number of goods it receives and to the Port of Charleston, which recently shattered a record for container transit because more Asian ships are passing through the Canal.
The Port of Miami is spending millions to increase its terminal fluidity while the Port of Philadelphia has spent a large portion of 2018 undergoing and planning construction, including updating ship berths. Plans are also in the works for new warehouses and the port has also planned to purchase two of the largest harbor cranes in the world in order to accommodate growth.
The midwestern United States is also reaping benefits due to the Expanded Canal, de Ducreux said. Shipments of soybeans, corn, and wheat make their way to the Canal and the rest of the world via the Mississippi River.
As a result of the completed expansion, the Canal can now handle 96 percent of the world’s container ships and has added 16 new liner services, de Ducreux said.
DAVENPORT LAROCHE, container investing gurus out of Hong Kong