SLC Issue Alert | September 2012

Update: The Panama Canal Expansion and the SLC States

Sujit CanagaRetna

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The ongoing Panama Canal expansion is perhaps the most transformative global transportation project currently in progress. Upon completion in 2014, the expanded Panama Canal will facilitate an even greater flow of trade between Asia and the Americas and substantially impact the volume of trade reaching Gulf and East Coast ports in the United States. The impetus for the expansion of the Canal, approved by the people of Panama in October 2006, sprang from that nation's desire to continue to be a pivotal player in global trade patterns and strategically leverage its greatest asset – the Panama Canal – for its own economic wellbeing. For the nation of Panama (the only port in the world with terminals in two oceans), the Canal plays an extraordinary role, impacting practically every aspect of society; at the economic level, economic activity flowing from the Canal accounts for nearly 15 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), a clear indication of the enormous economic footprint of the Canal on the nation. The expansion project not only will ensure the Canal's dominance as one of the most critical global transportation linchpins, it also will strengthen the linkages between Asia, the United States and Latin America.