Panama Canal expansion appears to be adding to its success

More than 1,600 neo-Panamax ships have passed through the expanded Panama Canal since its opening on June 26, 2016.

According to CBRE U.S. MarketFlash: "The Panama Canal One Year Later," the majority (82%) have been container or liquefied natural and petroleum gas vessels. The number of neo-Panamax ships calling on Eastern ports is expected to increase now that the clearing height of the Bayonne Bridge in New York has been raised.

CBRE analysts noted that "this was a critical milestone" because economies of scale for shipping companies are maximized as larger vessels have access to the East Coast’s largest port. Thus, larger ports that can accommodate neo-Panamax ships and their adjacent industrial markets stand to gain market share as shipping companies transition to larger vessels.

Neo-Panamax ships have nearly triple the cargo capacity and can carry more than double the weight of the maximum-size ships that could transit the Panama Canal before its expansion.

In related news, LM learned that the Panama Canal recently welcomed the largest capacity vessel to ever transit the Expanded Locks, the CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt. The Neopanamax containership, which began its voyage from Asia, will be making stops along the U.S. East Coast.

The CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt has a Total TEU Allowance (TTA) of 14,855 and measures 365.9 meters in length and 48.2 meters in beam. To put the scale of this enormous ship into perspective, its length is roughly the equivalent of laying end to end two Great Pyramids of Giza, four Big Bens, or eight Statues of Liberty.

“This transit not only represents the growing success and adoption of the Expanded Canal, but also its impact on reshaping world trade,” said Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano.

The CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt is deployed on the new OCEAN Alliance’s weekly South Atlantic Express (SAX) service, which connects Asia and U.S. East Coast ports via the Panama Canal. The SAX service is composed of 11 vessels ranging in size from 11,000 to 14,000 TEUs, including vessels which also transited the Expanded Canal earlier in May becoming the largest capacity ships to do so at time.

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