Pacific Maritime Magazine - Marine Business for the Operations Sector

Panama or Ports – Who Will Be Ready First?


The stop-go situation at Panama may allow a number of East Coast port projects to be completed before the new lock gates open. Photo courtesy of PCA.

A slow-down in construction at the Panama Canal may give a number of East Coast ports a chance to catch up on projects designed to take advantage of the canal's larger locks and bigger ships. The dredging of deeper channels within New York Harbor is expected to be completed before the end of this year while a project to raise the Bayonne Bridge has begun, although it will take nearly four years to complete. Another dredging project at the Port of Miami is also expected to begin this year, while a billion-dollar tunnel connecting the Florida port to major highways is nearing completion.

Nearby Port Everglades is seeking permission to dredge its Harbor to 50 feet while building a new Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF). Another Florida port, Jacksonville, has broken ground on a similar rail facility next to its Dames Point Marine Terminal (see Pacific Maritime Magazine, March 2013). The Port of Baltimore has completed work on a new post-Panamax berth, and has recently taken delivery of a new set of container cranes, while other ports, including Charleston, Savannah and New Orleans, are rushing to get billions of dollars of projects funded and underway in time for the enlarged Canal's grand opening. It now remains to be seen how many of these projects will be completed before the new locks are opened, an event which has been delayed by at least one year and possibly more because of substantial cost overruns.


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