Ports, the Panama Canal and the Future

Ports, Panama and the Future

Panama Canal

In 2015, ships will be transiting an enlarged Panama Canal.

By David Jessop

News Americas, LONDON, England, Mon. Feb. 24, 2014:

In the last few years, almost every significant Caribbean country has announced that they are upgrading their port facilities and preparing to compete to attract the larger Post-Panamax vessels that from some time in 2015 will be transiting an enlarged Panama Canal.

Such is the opportunity, given the Caribbean’s strategic location at the cross roads of north-south and east-west trade, and its numerous existing or new locations for deepwater ports, that Jamaica, Martinique, Cuba, Trinidad, the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic have all made clear that with the support of one or another foreign investor, port development will become critical to future growth. However, what is still far from certain is whether there is enough opportunity for all of the existing or proposed super ports, hubs, and manufacturing and trans-shipment zones to succeed.  

Viewed from another perspective, the more one speaks to experts, the less clear it is whether the winners will be those who have made an early start; those that are encouraging investment in co-located assembly, manufacturing and services, as well as trans-shipment; or those who have internationally respected marketing partners or shipping lines that can ensure success. This is not to argue that any particular proposal is unviable, but to suggest that these are among the factors, along with competitive rates, high levels of productivity, and a straightforward regulatory environment, that will enable the Caribbean to take advantage of its physical location.   [Read more]

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