MRO Magazine

Panama Canal expansion to create positive repercussions elsewhere

Panama City, Panama - The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) and the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA), which owns and operates the Port of Savannah, renewed their ties in July 2011 with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The MOU,...


Industry

September 29, 2011
By MRO Magazine


Industries

Panama City, Panama – The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) and the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA), which owns and operates the Port of Savannah, renewed their ties in July 2011 with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The MOU, renewable for five years, was first signed in July 2003 and aims to unify efforts to encourage mutual economic benefits.

Georgia stands to benefit from the waterway’s expansion, which is slated for completion in 2014. According to the GPA’s market studies, the Canal’s new locks are expected to direct ships with nearly three times the capacity to the Port of Savannah, currently the fourth largest and fastest-growing port in the United States. Savannah’s trade is evenly balanced between exports and imports, including 12% of all containerized exports in the US.

Areas of cooperation between the ACP and the GPA include, among others, information-sharing, joint marketing efforts, exchange of data, capital improvement plans, training and technology. The partnership also supports promotional efforts of the “All-Water Route,” the route from Asia to the US East Coast via the Panama Canal.

“With the expansion of the Panama Canal, international trade will increasingly rely on new and larger ships,” said GPA executive director Curtis J. Foltz. “Savannah’s compounded annual growth rate over the past decade has outpaced all major US ports. This would not have been possible without our close partnership with Panama. The Panama Canal leadership has done an extraordinary job bringing one of the most complex engineering projects in the world on time and on budget. This project will add to global trade efficiency and flexibility.”

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The GPA is working toward a large-scale effort to deepen the Savannah River from 42 ft to as much as 48 ft. The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP) will allow deeper draft ships to call on the port.

The US$5.25 billion expansion project will build a new lane of traffic along the Panama Canal through the construction of a new set of locks, which will double capacity and allow more traffic and longer, wider ships.

The Canal’s expansion remains on track following the recent pouring of permanent concrete work for the new locks.