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Old January 2nd, 2010, 10:16 PM   #61
Buyckske Ruben
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chornedsnorkack View Post
Precisely when shall the expanded canal open for traffic?

What precisely are the sizes of the ships allowed?

Old Panama canal locks are 1050 feet long, 110 feet wide and 41,2 feet deep.

Safety margin is required in all directions. Panama canal normally requires 85 feet free length - allowing 965 foot long ships, 4 feet free width - allowing 106 feet free width, and 1,7 feet free depth - allowing 39,5 feet draught. There have been exceptions. The longest ship to pass was 973 feet long (77 feet free length), the widest to pass were 108 feet 4 inches wide (leaving 1 foot 8 inches free width).

The new lock sizes are supposed to be 1400 feet long, 180 feet wide, 60 feet deep. What shall the required clearances and allowed ship dimensions be?
It is estimated that the project will be completed by 2014 and will cost $5.3 billion; this sum is expected to be recovered within 11 years.

After this expansion, the Panama Canal will be able to handle vessels of cargo capacity up to 13,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU)[5]; currently, it can only handle vessels up to about 5,000 TEU.[6] A third set of locks – 1,400 ft (426.72 m) long, 180 ft (54.86 m) wide, with a draft of 60 ft (18.29 m) – will supplement the two existing sets.

[edit] Comparison of sizes
Class Panamax-------------------------Panamax II
Length 1,050 ft (320.04 m)------------- 1,400 ft (426.72 m)
Width 110 ft (33.53 m) -----------------180 ft (54.86 m)
Draft 41 ft (12.50 m) -------------------60 ft (18.29 m)
TEU 5000 ------------------------------12000

New Panamax
Plans to build bigger locks have led to the creation of "New Panamax", with maximum length overall of 1,200 ft (365.76 m), beam 160 ft (48.77 m) and draft in tropical freshwater 50 ft (15.24 m).[7] Naval architects and civil engineers are already taking into account these dimensions for container ships.[8] The world's largest cruise ship Oasis of the Seas has almost New Panamax dimensions with height difficult to pass under the Bridge of the Americas even at low tide.

However, even before the revised dimensions were announced, the Maersk E-class - like the Emma Maersk; as well as many large tankers - ULCCs; and some bulk carriers, VLOCs - will not be able to pass through even the new, much larger locks.

Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panamax
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Old January 3rd, 2010, 04:23 AM   #62
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I thought the term Panamax meant it could pass through the canal!
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Old January 3rd, 2010, 09:42 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by Buyckske Ruben View Post
A third set of locks – 1,400 ft (426.72 m) long, 180 ft (54.86 m) wide, with a draft of 60 ft (18.29 m) – will supplement the two existing sets.

[edit] Comparison of sizes
Class Panamax-------------------------Panamax II
Length 1,050 ft (320.04 m)------------- 1,400 ft (426.72 m)
Width 110 ft (33.53 m) -----------------180 ft (54.86 m)
Draft 41 ft (12.50 m) -------------------60 ft (18.29 m)
TEU 5000 ------------------------------12000

New Panamax
Plans to build bigger locks have led to the creation of "New Panamax", with maximum length overall of 1,200 ft (365.76 m), beam 160 ft (48.77 m) and draft in tropical freshwater 50 ft (15.24 m).[7] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panamax
Er, I read it. This is what inspired my question.

Known clearances for Panamax:
Length 85 feet
Width 4 feet
Draught 1,7 feet

Supposed clearances for new Panamax:
Length 200 feet
Width 20 feet
Draught 10 feet.

Can someone verify that so much clearance shall be required?
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Old January 3rd, 2010, 12:08 PM   #64
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ALL INFO: http://www.pancanal.com/eng/expansion/index.html
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Old January 19th, 2010, 09:35 AM   #65
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Shipping’s Big Shadow
11 January 2010
Journal of Commerce

If there’s a constant theme in freight transportation’s evolution in recent times, it’s that bigger is better. More than other operators across the shipping spectrum, container ship lines have been at the forefront of the drive for economies of scale, continually stretching the envelope on ship design by ordering larger vessels designed to keep unit operating costs down while matching capacity to forecasts for soaring demand.

Today’s largest container ships have nominal capacities exceeding 14,000 TEUs, nearly twice that of the biggest ships a decade ago. They’re nearly a quarter-mile long, wider than a football field, and ride as high in the water as a 15-story building — big enough to cast a shadow over the industry for years to come.

In an industry stacking up losses faster than at any time in its 50-year history, the carriers’ huge orders for more of them are a second wave of the financial tsunami that hit carriers with the downturn in global shipping demand.

Carriers ordered scores of the big ships just before global trade went into reverse. Now, reeling from a one-two punch of increased capacity and lower volume, they’re regretting those ill-timed decisions. Even worse for carriers, many of the ships ordered as late as 2007 are still being launched into a depressed, oversupplied market.

Vessel deliveries will dry up after current contracts are completed in two or three years, but the megaship is here to stay. London-based shipping consultant and analyst AXS-Alphaliner reported at the end of November that 267 vessels with capacities of at least 7,500 TEUs were in service. These new vessels are built to operate for 20 years or more, and when carriers eventually resume buying, analysts predict they’ll opt for a new wave of super-sized vessels.

The economics of the megaships are too compelling to ignore. A 12,000-TEU ship can be operated with the same 13 or 14 crewmembers required by a ship with half the capacity. Per-unit costs of capital investment and fuel consumption are substantially less than for two vessels of half the size.

“They definitely provide economies of scale when full,” said Mark Page, director of Drewry Shipping Consultants in London. “In the long term, when more cargo is available, we will see the big ships justify themselves, but it’s going to be several years before they appear to be something that’s the right size for the trade instead of too big.”

This isn’t the first time carriers have bought transportation equipment a size or two larger than they immediately need. Carriers in all transportation modes use the largest vessels possible to gain economies of scale — bigger trailers for truckers, longer trains and larger railcars for railroads, and jumbo cargo and passenger aircraft for air transport providers. More shippers are paying close attention to economies, as well, holding back orders to consolidate partial loads into full containers on the water and from less-than-truckload to cheaper truckload for domestic shipments.

But seldom have carriers moved as quickly and emphatically as container lines did in super-sizing their fleets in response to the sustained boom in trade accompanying China’s 2001 admission to the World Trade Organization and a credit-fueled buying binge by U.S. and European consumers.

At the market peak two years ago, when there were predictions a “tsunami of containers” would hit U.S. shores, container ship orders totaled nearly 50 percent of existing capacity, and most of the ships on order comprised 7,500-TEU-plus vessels. With global container trade having risen at a compound rate of more than 9 percent a year since the early 1990s, it seemed a good investment — until nearly everyone had the same idea.

Now the ship orders have turned the economic principles of operating a few 12,500-TEU vessels in a different direction. “The thinking behind each of those large ships was sound, but the combined effect of everybody doing it was insane,” said Andrew Penfold, director of Ocean Shipping Consultants of London. “It was the madness of the crowd.”

Even amid the concerns about capacity, however, the ship orders remain largely intact. That’s in part because of the difficulty carriers, facing heavy financial penalties, have in extracting themselves from the orders, but it’s also a signal of the confidence the container ship companies have over the long term in the operating economics of the vessels. As of Jan. 1, there were 770 container ships on order worldwide, totaling 4.7 million TEUs and representing 36 percent of the existing fleet, according to AXS-Alphaliner.

When CMA CGM took delivery of what it called the world’s largest container ship in November, the 13,300-TEU CMA CGM Christoph Colomb, the carrier trumpeted the economies of scale and energy-saving technology. Perhaps even more important, when the troubled French carrier announced a financial overhaul in late December that included a new look at ship orders, CMA CGM said it hoped to cancel its orders for 15 smaller 3,600-TEU ships while keeping its orders for eight more ships of the CMA CGM Christoph Colomb scale in place.

Discussion of future orders of large container ships is academic in today’s market, but the consensus is the maximum size for container ships will stay about where it is for several years after vessel orders resume.

“We feel the ship size of around 14,000 TEUs is probably the maximum we will see for the foreseeable future,” Penfold said. “To make a worthwhile economic saving, carriers want a 10 to 12 percent improvement in slot-mile costs. Going from 6,000 TEUs to 9,000 produces that kind of savings. So does going from 9,000 to 14,000. But if you want to make another 10 to 12 percent savings beyond the 14,000-TEU ship, you’ve got to go out to about a 20,000-TEU ship, and that really is regarded as science fiction.”

That’s not to say some aren’t thinking about it. A decade ago, a professor at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands floated the concept of an 18,000-TEU “Malaccamax” ship whose 69-foot loaded draft would barely squeeze through the Strait of Malacca. In 2008, South Korea’s STX Shipbuilding unveiled an even more eye-popping design for a 22,000-TEU ship.

Carriers aren’t lining up to order these behemoths. Such a ship would require huge volumes of cargo to achieve the desired per-slot savings. Such volumes would overwhelm many marine terminals and inland transportation facilities, requiring days-long port calls that would cancel out the savings at sea.

Even if the volume and port facilities were sufficient, such a large ship would increase costs for capital investment and operations. For example, these ships probably would require twin propellers, or screws, for propulsion.

“A twin-screw ship will cost something like $15 million more in capital costs. Fuel consumption will be about 3 percent higher than a single-screw ship, and manning and maintenance costs will increase by about 70 percent because you have to look after two big engines. The combined effect is to knock twin-screw out of court when considered on a slot-cost basis,” said David Tozer, business manager for container ships at Lloyd’s Register, the London-based ship classification society.

Today’s largest ships are limited to Asia-Europe routes that offer the optimum combination of high volumes, long voyages and deep, efficient ports. These routes use the lock-free Suez Canal, which has ample draft for the 50-plus feet that the largest container ships require.

The construction of wider locks at the Panama Canal will provide carriers with additional options for deploying their super-sized container ships. After 2014, the Panama Canal will accommodate “New Panamax” ships of about 12,500 TEUs, compared with the current Panamax capacity of about 5,000 TEUs.

After 2014, carriers will be able to concentrate their largest ships on Asia-Europe routes while deploying slightly smaller vessels on round-the-world services using the Panama Canal, linking those services with an expanded network of feeder services.

Ports are trying to get into the game by dredging channels and upgrading terminals. The crane of choice at container ports is the super-post-Panamax size that can reach across 22 or 23 rows of containers on a ship’s deck. That compares with 17 or 18 for a standard port-Panamax crane and a mere 13 for a Panamax model.

Experts said the expanded canal would affect future decisions on ship orders.

“If I am ordering ships, do I buy a series of 14,000-TEU ships which are slightly cheaper than the 12,000-TEU ship? Or do I go for 12,000-TEU ships which I can trade in the Asia-Europe, or the Pacific, or the round-the-world trade, which will come back?” Penfold said. “Our conclusion, and the market’s, seems to be that the focus will be on these 12,000-TEU ships; 14,500 TEUs will become the new post-Panamax.”

Most of the 10,000-TEU-plus ships ordered in recent years were designed to match the new locks’ dimensions, designed for ships up to 1,200 feet long and 161 feet wide. Germanischer Lloyd, the German ship classification society, recently unveiled a “New Panamax” design for a 14,000-TEU ship it said would fit the new locks.

Asaf Ashar, research professor at the National Ports & Waterways Institute of the University of New Orleans, said the expanded Panama Canal and the changing composition of the container ship fleet would alter shipping patterns. He predicts a revival of round-the-world services, and said East Coast ports off the megaships’ current path will be served by feeders — or even direct services — using 6,000- to 9,000-TEU ships, a size the Panama Canal Authority expects to be the workhorse of the waterway after 2014.

“The investment in huge ships will encourage more transshipment,” Ashar said. For shippers and consignees, that could mean longer transit times, something that’s already happening as carriers optimize their services around their largest vessels.

AXS-Alphaliner reported last month that although more than 10 percent of container ships were idle, that number included only two ships with greater than 7,500 TEUs of capacity, suggesting carriers are opting to idle smaller vessels while putting more containers on fewer ships.

Container ship lines are using every trick in the book to put their biggest ships to work while minimizing capacity. Major carriers now routinely engage in slow-steaming, running vessels at 17 to 19 knots instead of 20 to 22, or even “super slow-steaming” as slow as 14 knots on backhaul routes such as Europe to Asia.

Opinion is divided on whether carriers will return to faster speeds when trade volume recovers. Slow-steaming saves on fuel costs and reduces emissions, but a carrier operating a ship at half-speed is effectively using only half of an expensive asset. Many of the big ships cost $150 million or more apiece and were ordered in sets of eight or 10, making them too expensive to use as warehouses on water.

For the new generation of container ships to prove their worth, what’s really needed is a global economic recovery that brings container volume growth closer to its historic pattern of three times global GDP. “We’ve made the bed,” Penfold said. “Now it’s just a question of the economics playing out.”
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Old March 15th, 2010, 04:50 PM   #66
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Panama Canal Sees Slow Revenue Growth As Sea Trade Lags
10 March 2010

PANAMA CITY (Dow Jones)--After weathering the financial and economic crisis that crippled global trade, the Panama Canal expects to see a modest rise in revenue this year as the recovery takes time to filter through to the shipping industry.

"This year will be flat, it will be very similar in terms of volume," Alberto Aleman, the chief executive of the Panama Canal Authority said in an interview. "We are seeing the same tonnage."

The Canal's revenues fell to $1.96 billion in the fiscal year 2009--which ran from October 2008 to September 2009--down from $2.01 billion in 2008. The forecast for this year is $2.02 billion, Aleman said.

The canal's net profit will probably fall to around $960 million from $1.01 billion in 2009 and $1.03 billion in 2008.

Despite the world economy's recovery, the canal's business will take time to pick up, Aleman said. The shipping industry always lags the rest of the economy as orders take several weeks to reach ports, and it takes companies time to get enough confidence to increase inventories, Aleman said.

The canal's fiscal year also includes the fourth quarter of 2009, when a recovery wasn't obvious in countries trading through the canal.

Although the global crisis caused a sharp drop in overall trade, the Panama Canal suffered only modestly. About the same number of ships moved through the waterway in 2009 as in 2008, but tonnage fell 3%.

Transportation of bulk loads has already improved, while shipping of containers and vehicles is still low, Aleman said.

Canal revenue last year was affected by rebates the canal gave to its customers, included considering as empty container ships that were less than 30% full.

The rebate is scheduled to end in May, when a new fee structure is expected to be announced following discussions between the Canal Authority and industry players.

About 5% of all the world's seaborne goods pass through the Panama Canal, which joins the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

The canal is expanding its capacity to allow more and wider ships to cross the Central American isthmus. The project includes the construction of two new sets of locks and two new short stretches of canal parallel to the existing one.

The expansion was initially estimated to cost $5.25 billion, but it's now likely to be about $380 million less than that because of competitive bids by private contractors, Aleman said.

Just over $1 billion of the investment is earmarked for unforeseen events, so it's likely at least a portion of this figure won't be spent.

The official said the expansion will be ready in 2014, as scheduled.

The Canal Authority has secured $2.3 billion in loans for the expansion from the European Investment Bank, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Andean Development Corp. and the World Bank's International Finance Corp.

The rest of the money will come from the canal's own cash flow. In 2012, the most active year, the Canal Authority will transfer around $1 billion to the expansion contractors.

The largest of them is the group formed by Spanish construction firm Sacyr Vallehermoso (SYV.MC), Italian firm Impregilo (IPG.MI), Belgium's Jan de Nul Group NV and Panama's Constructura Urbana SA. The group has started construction of the new sets of locks, which will cost $3.12 billion.
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Old March 15th, 2010, 09:47 PM   #67
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Old March 18th, 2010, 07:19 AM   #68
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"The ACP categorically denies the statements by Ponzellini," the Panama Canal Authority, or ACP, said in a statement referring to both the choosing of a winner and a date for making the announcement.
Technical evaluations of three consortia's proposals to build locks and water-saving basins have not concluded, the ACP said. Bids for the project are locked in a Panama bank vault and will be opened in public when evaluations finish.
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Old April 9th, 2010, 10:58 AM   #69
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Upgrading ports might expand trade market
18 March 2010
Tampa Tribune

TALLAHASSEE - Expansion of the Panama Canal means that Florida is poised to seize on new trade opportunities, say state lawmakers who want to pour $85 million into Florida's 14 ports.

Rep. Lake Ray, a Jacksonville Republican, is working with Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Margate, on an initiative to upgrade infrastructure and expedite improvements at the state's 14 ports, including the Port of Tampa.

"Our ports, while they're doing a great job, have an opportunity to catch an expanded market," Ray said.

One such opportunity, he said, is the expansion of the Panama Canal.

The Panama Canal Authority is modernizing and expanding the canal, including construction of a third lock to accommodate newer, larger ships. That project is expected to boost shipping through the isthmus substantially, providing new opportunities for U.S. port cities.

Other states are already beefing up their seaports, said Ray, warning that Florida will lose trade and jobs if it does not do the same. Already, more than half of the goods that arrive from outside of Florida for purchase here have travelled through some other state's port.

Ray proposes to pay for his initiative by selling tax credits to insurance companies, which have to pay annual premium taxes.

The Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development Council would decide how to divvy up the money among the ports. All told, the program is expected to raise about $85 million by July 2012, at a cost to the state of $100 million in tax credits.

That's a substantial drop from the $500 million cap that Ray proposed initially. The lawmakers changed his bill, he said, in response to House leaders' concerns about the financial impact and how it would balance against other economic stimulus proposals.

Ray said ports wouldn't have been able to make instant use of a much larger amount than the $85 million, because of regulatory hurdles.

To that end, Ray said, Ring's Senate plan to streamline permitting for port projects fits naturally with his proposal, which a House committee approved Wednesday. Both lawmakers intend to file companion legislation for one another's bills.

The package received a boost from Gov. Charlie Crist, who appeared with the sponsors to promote it. "We must capitalize on this economic opportunity in Florida," he said.
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Old June 11th, 2010, 04:03 PM   #70
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Panama Canal Picks Dredging International For $40 Mln Contract
9 June 2010
Dow Jones

The Panama Canal authority picked Belgian company Dredging International NV to dredge the Gatun Lake as the company offered to carry out the work for $40 million, the authority said Tuesday in a statement.

Dredging International beat out other companies including China Harbour Engineering Company, Netherlands-based Royal Boskalis Westminster (BOKA.AE), U.S.-based Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corp. (GLDD) and Belgium's Van Oord Groep NV and Jan de Nul.

The losing bidders had offered between $58 million and $98 million to dredge the lake located between the canal's Pacific and Atlantic locks.

The Panama Canal Authority is in the process of doubling the canal's capacity. The project is expected to cost a total $5.25 billion and be ready in 2014.
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Old July 9th, 2010, 03:47 PM   #71
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Panama Canal hikes transit fees 8-10 pct for 2011

PANAMA CITY, June 16 (Reuters) - The Panama Canal Authority will raise transit tariffs for the waterway that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans between 8 and 10 percent in 2011, the agency said on Wednesday.

Most types of shipping will pay a higher tariff starting Jan. 1 although the increase for refrigerated vessels will be postponed until April, the canal authority said in a statement.

Rates were frozen in 2010 due to the global financial crisis.

Panama is investing $5.25 billion to expand the canal to allow larger ships to pass through the transoceanic waterway.

The expansion of the canal, which currently handles about 4 percent of global trade, is set for completion in 2015.
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Old July 9th, 2010, 04:13 PM   #72
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July 6, 2010
Panama Canal
JUST STARTED, CONSTRUCTION SITES
Already shut down


Twelve hundred workers are on strike against Impregilo (italian build company) attempt to apply the "Law 30". Not the case in Italy, but in Panama, where the Italian company is a partner of the consortium won the main contract, from $ 3.2 billion for the expansion of historic canal linking the Atlantic and Pacific. 30 And the law referred to is obviously not Italian, commonly known as the Biagi law ", but a special law passed in special session last June by the Panamanian parliament. The union, which denounced the government's attempt to restrict trade union rights, has named Ley chorizo. Namely "the law-spicy sausage" why try to cover measures indigestible, such as a guarantee of police violence, mixing with others that would give a "taste" the best in text, such as protection of domestic airlines from foreign competition. Against the law 30, the local unions are protesting for several weeks. According to the Government of Panama, the agitation is only to defend the trade union contribution taken directly from wages, that the law abolishes. In recent days, the level of confrontation has been raised, after the inauguration of the enlargement of the canal, which was attended by 30 June Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, along with several Heads of State and Government of Latin America. "For the first time - said the president of Panama, Ricardo Martinelli - get a High Representative of Italy and he does participate in a work of global significance." Berlusconi was the guest of honor at the inauguration of dredging on Lake Gatun, where the canal passes. This work is entrusted to the consortium for the U.S. channel, which includes Impregilo (48%), Spain's Sacyr Vallehermoso (49%), the Belgian company Jan de Nul (1%) and the Panamanian Constructora Urbana (1%). "We are here - Berlusconi said - to welcome this great work and share the hope that is realized in time."

The hope has not achieved the desired effect. From Friday, just days after the visit of Italian Prime Minister, began the strikes. In recent days they crossed their arms about 1,500 workers in the city of Colon, who report wage starvation conditions (3.3 dollars an hour) and protesting against the will of the Consortium which is part Impregilo to apply the Law of 30 newborn. According Saúl Méndez, union Suntracs, contractors' want to force the workers to abandon the union and are no longer serving in salary the union dues. " According to the unions two protesters were arrested and then released during the protest. Ready replication of Labour Minister of Panama, Mrs. Alma Cortes, who said she was outraged accusations of union and appealed to workers on strike: "I recommend them to be careful to protect their jobs and not to follow the Game managers who earn their living union dues. " For the minister, in short, the protest was intended merely to provide privileges and not to help workers.

The construction of the third way of the Panama Canal, which is expected to be completed in 2014, is one of the largest infrastructure projects running worldwide. The idea to expand the channel is a consequence of increasingly stringent gigantic ships of last generation, in particular container. Until a few years ago had a greater ability to 5-6000 teu (unit of measure equivalent to a container 20 feet long), which could travel from Panama. But this measure over the past decade has grown progressively and now also moving ships from 13 or 14 thousand TEUs. Ships over 5,500 teu capacity are classified as "post-Panamax," just because they can not cross the channel. This limitation has had a significant impact on international shipping routes, which meanwhile have begun to absorb the booming Chinese production. From Asia have so many ships began heading towards the Suez Canal, larger than that of Panama, even to reach the east coast of the United States. In recent years there have been so favored transshipment ports in the Mediterranean, who have had rapid growth first on the north-west, from Gioia Tauro, Algeciras, and later on the south, where they grew Damietta and Tanger Med L ' Opening of the Panama Canal in 2014 will allow the passage of container ships of over 12,000 TEUs and will cause a new revolution in transport strategies of the major shipping companies.

source: http://shippingonline.ilsecoloxix.it...i_panama.shtml
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Old August 16th, 2010, 05:08 PM   #73
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Panama Canal Receives Bids on Pacific Access Channel
6 August 2010
Journal of Commerce Online

The Panama Canal Authority said it received three bids on Aug. 6 from international engineering and construction companies that are competing to dredge and excavate the Pacific Access Channel entrance.

This project represents the last major contract to be awarded in the canal's expansion program. Once completed, the project will allow larger ships to enter the new access channel and reach the new Pacific Locks. The access channel will link the new Pacific locks with the Gaillard Cut, which is the narrowest stretch of the Panama Canal.

The canal authority said it would award the contract to the firm with the lowest-priced bid that meets all of the terms and conditions stated by the tender in its request for proposals.

The contractor will then have a 90-day procurement and mobilization period before receiving the notice to proceed.

The companies that submitted bids and the corresponding bid prices were:

Jan de Nul, $54,550,647; International Underground Corp., $55,329,492; and BKI-MECO, $71,344,784.

The scope of work for the contract will include an estimated 4 million cubic meters of dredging and excavation of the PAC entrance.

The canal authority said it would ensure all of the work meets specific environmental requirements.

The expansion program 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 when completed in late 2014.
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Old September 27th, 2010, 07:56 PM   #74
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From September 2005 to September 2006, freight shipped through the waterway totaled 296.3 million tons compared to the previous fiscal year, and the number of ships crossing grew by 1 percent, to 14,194.

Of those, 1,610 were the larger Panamax ships, whose number grew 22.9 percent from the previous year.

Ten accidents occurred in fiscal year 2006, compared to 12 in the prior one, the Canal Authority reported.

Panamanians will vote in an Oct. 22 referendum on a project to add a third set of locks to the canal to allow larger container ships to pass through the waterway and reduce the long lines of ships waiting to cross.

The Canal Authority has estimated the project will cost roughly US$5.25 billion (€4.2 billion).

Panama has controlled the canal since Dec. 31, 1999, when the U.S. military presence in Panama ended. Approximately 4 percent to 5 percent of the world's maritime trade crosses through the Panama Canal.
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Old December 15th, 2010, 04:22 AM   #75
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Panama Canal reopens after closure from heavy rain

PANAMA CITY, Dec 9 (Reuters) - The Panama Canal, a major shipping waterway that connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, reopened early on Thursday after a rare shutdown due to heavy rains, the canal authority said.

"The Canal is operating now," canal authority administrator Alberto Aleman said in a statement, after the roughly 10-hour shutdown.

The canal was last closed during the 1989 U.S. invasion.

Between 13,000 and 14,000 ships pass through the canal every year -- about 36 per day -- representing roughly 5 percent of world trade, according to the canal authority.

Recent rains have caused havoc in nearby Venezuela and Colombia and the authority said rainfall had pushed surrounding rivers and reservoirs to historically high levels, which could affect ships in transit.

The waterway is undergoing an expansion project to accommodate larger ships that will cost more than $5 billion dollars.
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Old January 4th, 2011, 11:57 PM   #76
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In 2011 increased traffic in Panama Canal


The Panama Canal Authority expects for 2011 an increase of traffic, pending completion of the expansion project, the South American country has yet to complete by 2014. Currently, the canal can accommodate vessels up to 5,000 TEUs, but once finished, will secure the passage of units up to 12,600 teu.

The Authority estimates that the total transit of goods in the Channel for the fiscal year 2011 will be 305 million tonnes, an increase of four tonnes of the handling of last year. The Panama Canal moves approximately 4.4 million TEUs per year. In 2015, the figure should rise to eight million.


source: shippingonline.it
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Old March 5th, 2011, 07:46 PM   #77
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East Coast ports race to dig deeper for giant ships coming through expanded Panama Canal
8 February 2011

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - When Savannah welcomed the largest cargo ship ever to call on its booming seaport, the visiting vessel barely fit. The Figaro had to sail in loaded at half capacity to avoid scraping the river bottom, and even then could only navigate the shallow channel at high tide.

East Coast ports from New York to Miami simply aren't deep enough to handle such mammoth vessels as the CMA CGM Figaro, which measures 1,100 feet long with space for 8,500 cargo containers a tractor-trailer can haul one at a time. With a major expansion of the Panama Canal projected to be finished by the end of 2014, these gargantuan vessels will be able to sail between Asia and the U.S. East Coast.

The canal expansion is pitting seaports up and down the Atlantic coast in a race to dig deeper harbors capable of handling the so-called post-Panamax ships.

"It's going to almost triple the size of the vessels that are going to be able to transit the canal," said Kurt J. Nagle, president of the American Association of Port Authorities. "I don't think it's overhyped to say it's a gamechanger."

The post-Panamax ships require depths of up to 50 feet of water to navigate when fully loaded. Only one East Coast seaport -- Norfolk, Va. -- is that deep. Other ports are scrambling for federal permits and hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to scrape and suck tons of sand and mud from their bays and river bottoms.

The port of New York/New Jersey, the busiest port on the eastern seaboard, already has a $2.3 billion project under way to deepen its harbor to 50 feet. But the Bayonne Bridge spanning the shipping channel is too low for the biggest ships, and port officials say at least $1.3 billion more is needed to raise the span.

Savannah, the nation's fourth busiest container port and No. 2 on the East Coast, wants $588 million to dredge 6 feet from the Savannah River along 35 miles between the ocean and the city's port. The federal government would pay about two-thirds of the bill, but first the Army Corps of Engineers needs approval to start the project, which is expected within the year.

"This is a project that has significance not just for this area of the state or the state itself, but for the entire Southeast," Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said during a Jan. 28 visit to the Savannah port.

Dock workers at the Savannah port, 240 miles from Georgia's state Capitol, are doing their part to help push for deeper water. When the Army Corps held a recent workshop here to gather public comment on the project, the local chapter of the International Longshoremen's Association had 600 port workers show up to voice their support.

Christopher Johnson, a second-generation longshoreman and one of the union's 1,700 Savannah workers, said larger ships carrying more cargo should translate to more workers needed to unload them. But Savannah could lose jobs, he says, if it doesn't dredge and its competitors do in nearby Charleston, S.C., and Jacksonville, Fla.

"If we don't get the project done, we're afraid the ships may go to other areas," said Johnson, 46. "Our workload depends on the ships coming up the river. If the ships don't come, we don't eat."

Meanwhile, South Carolina officials are seeking $400,000 in federal money for a feasibility study by the Army Corps to determine if it can deepen the Charleston port from 45 to 50 feet. Charleston is the East Coast's fourth busiest container port, and No. 12 nationally.

Miami's port already has permission to dredge and is asking for $75 million to start the project's first phase. Studies are under way to deepen two other Florida ports in Ft. Lauderdale and Jacksonville.

"Certainly every port is counting on it having a big impact," said Bernard Groseclose, former chief executive of South Carolina's seaports who now works as a private consultant. "Everyone is telling the same story: We're getting ready for the Panama Canal expansion."

But getting funding may have just gotten tougher.

Federal dollars used for dredging projects and the studies required to approve them typically get added to congressional budget bills as "earmarks" -- line items requested by individual lawmakers to benefit their districts back home. Yet earmark spending was widely denounced as government waste in the 2010 elections that swept Republicans back in control of the U.S. House.

As a result, GOP lawmakers in both the House and Senate have sworn off earmarks for the time being. It's not clear how else port projects would obtain federal money.

"It has the potential to have a dramatic impact," said Nagle, who insists port projects aren't waste. "There clearly is a distinction between these types of projects and what is typically the target of the ban."

Both Nagle and Groseclose agree not all ports seeking to supersize their harbors will get approved -- and both don't think every U.S. port needs to be deep enough for the largest ships.

But some are questioning how the federal government decides which projects move forward.

In studies finished last November that recommend deepening Savannah's harbor, the Army Corps of Engineers concludes the project would have economic benefits for the nation as a whole -- the benchmark for the agency's approval.

But what the Army Corps hasn't done is take a comprehensive look at all East Coast ports to determine how many should be dredged to post-Panamax depths and which would reap the most benefits for the best price.

"The Corps is evaluating the cost and benefits of these individual proposals in a vacuum," said Chris DeScherer, an attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center. "Where does it make the most sense on the East Coast to have a deep water port? Where does the American taxpayer get the most bang for his buck with the least environmental impact?"

The Army Corps said it hasn't done a broader study to compare ports, in part, because no one has asked.

The Corps doesn't have the authority to initiate port studies on its own.

"To date, there has been no request by the ports or Congress to undertake a comprehensive study," said Jim Walker, chief of the Navigation Program for the Army Corps of Engineers.
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Old March 28th, 2011, 05:09 PM   #78
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Panama Canal gets a revamp – and so does global trade
26 March 2011
The Globe and Mail

It has been almost 100 years since the completion of the Panama Canal, a project that took more than a decade and created one of the world's most important trade routes.

It was hailed as one of the greatest engineering works of all time. But it came at a hefty price: More than 22,000 workers died while chiselling the $336-million course through the yellow fever- and malaria-infested jungles of Panama.

The canal they created revolutionized global trade, shrinking a 22,500-kilometre voyage from New York to San Francisco to 9,600 kilometres.

Now, work is under way on an ambitious development that will add an extra lane and two sets of locks, a $5.25-billion expansion that will triple cargo capacity through the storied waterway, but also redraw global trade routes once more by deepening Asia's access to markets along the Atlantic ocean.

China, the world's fastest-growing major economy, will be able to use larger and more efficient cargo vessels to transport goods to consumers on America's east coast. It will also be more efficient for China to obtain raw materials from Latin America's northeast, such as Brazil's iron ore and Venezuela's oil – key ingredients in its drive to industrialize – and will afford Chinese exporters greater access to a rising middle class in Brazil.

China's imports surged nearly 40 per cent last year, making it the world's second-largest importer and a key engine of the global economy. But that growth is occurring at a time when soaring energy prices make it crucial for all trading nations to reduce transportation costs.

“China recognizes that if their trade is going to continue to grow with the Atlantic – the east coasts of North America and South America – … they've got to find better ways to get into the Atlantic,” said David Hummels, a professor of economics who specializes in global trade at Purdue University in Indiana. Freeing up east-west global trade routes will be a priority in the coming years, he said.

Another winner in the Panama expansion will be Chile, which will be able to more easily move goods such as copper and wine to the eastern U.S., said Mary Brooks, the William A. Black chair of commerce at Dalhousie University who specializes in trade and transport.

Canada is rarely mentioned in the debate over who wins and who loses in the canal's expansion. But Gary LeRoux, executive director of the Association of Canada Port Authorities, says Halifax could see more activity because its deep-water harbour can accommodate larger ships.

Currently, the U.S. is by far the biggest user of the Panama Canal, but China's share is growing rapidly – so much so that the country is investigating other east-west routes.

Last month, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said his country is in advanced talks with China to develop a “dry” Panama Canal. One proposal is a $7.6-billion project to build a 791-kilometre railway through Colombia and expand a port that would give China a gateway into Latin America.

Construction of Panama's expansion, which will enable vessels twice the size to navigate the passage, will likely finish in 2014. The new canal will allow the world's largest ships – called post-Panamax vessels, which are up to 366 metres long and 49 metres wide – to use the passage.

The new Panama project has had its setbacks, though far less dramatic than those of a century ago.

Landslides and mud have proved challenging. In December, heavy rains caused the waterway's first temporary closing in more than two decades, although the authority says construction remains on schedule.

An expanded canal will have ripple effects for global trade, boosting activity for east coast U.S. ports and reducing it in the west, where unloaded cargo has to continue by rail to the east. Increased trade between Asian markets and east coast ports could dislocate as much as 25 per cent of traffic from west coast ports, Fitch Ratings estimated in a report last month: “Significant traffic leakage is to be expected.”

***********

MORE CARGO

Larger locks will allow bigger ships to use the canal.

CURRENT PANAMAX SHIP

Capacity: 4,800 TEUs

FUTURE POST-PANAMAX SHIP

Capacity: 12,000 TEUs

TEU = Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (6 m),a standard shipping-container size

The Panama Canal allows Asia to connect with Europe and the east coast of the Americas with relative ease.

It needs to accommodate larger ships in order to compete with the alternative Suez Canal route.

PANAMA CANAL USAGE

Note: Canada's total usage in 2010 was 9.5 million long tons.
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Old May 25th, 2011, 05:31 PM   #79
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Steel from Petersburg part of Panama Canal upgrades
17 May 2011

PETERSBURG, Va. (AP) - A Petersburg steel mill is playing a role in major upgrades to the Panama Canal.

Steel sheet piling produced by Gerdau Ameristeel's mills in Petersburg and Midlothian, Texas, is being used in the expansion of the one of the world's most vital shipping paths. The $5.25 billion project will double the capacity of the canal, allowing more ships and larger ships to traverse it.

"It is one of those projects that doesn't come along too often, to be able to participate in the expansion of such a notable feature on the globe," said David Maedgen, manager of piling sales at Gerdau Ameristeel. "There is so much international traffic that goes through that canal."

The Richmond-Times Dispatch reports that the Petersburg mill produced 1,200 tons of sheet piling the company manufactured for the Panama Canal expansion.

Steel sheet piling is a manufactured construction product with connections that interlock to form a continuous wall.

The materials will be used for the excavation of the canal's Pacific access channel and the construction of the Borinquen Dam, a key part of the expansion.

The process of moving the steel from the Virginia and Texas facilities to the site in Panama involved 161 rail cars, four oceangoing vessels and 880 truckloads.

The Petersburg mill has 415 employees and the capacity to produce 1 million tons of steel per year.

------

Information from: Richmond Times-Dispatch, http://www.timesdispatch.com
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Old June 29th, 2011, 07:05 AM   #80
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FACTBOX-Panama Canal expansion effect on shipping

May 31 (Reuters) - The Panama Canal Authority expects to complete the canal expansion project by the end of 2014.

This will widen and deep the canal to accommodate larger vessels taking cargoes to the Pacific.

The expanded canal will mainly be used for container traffic and had been expected to open the door for increased Colombian and U.S. coal exports to the Pacific.

However, the expanded canal will not accommodate the capesize 150,000 tonne vessels, most often used for long-haul coal trade.

These will continue to go south around the tip of Latin America and on to the Pacific, while freight rates remain cheap.

DIMENSIONS

* The expanded canal will accommodate ships of up to 170,000 tonnes deadweight (dwt) beam, up to 49 metres length.

* The transit draft will increase from 12 to 15 metres.

* Modern capesize vessels of 170,000 dwt are generally 45 metres beam but when fully laden, the draft increases to 18 metres.

* This means that the expanded canal can only take partly laden capesize vessels, losing around 35,000 tonnes of cargo or offload and reload at each end of the canal. The cost of doing this makes the economics doubtful of using capes.

* New post panamaxes such as the Tana Sea, which has just been delivered, would be ideal ships to transit the expanded canal because they can load a full cargo.

The Tana sea is 92,500 dwt, has a 14.9 metres draft, 230 metres in length and beam 38 metres.

* Few panamax bulk carriers currently use the canal and even fewer carrying coal because the standard panamax size for coal cargoes is 75,000 tonnes, too large for the canal at present.

* Aframaxes will also be able to transit fully laden, a modern one being typically 115,000-dwt.

* The main shipping beneficiaries could be large boxships such as the MSC Luciana, which could transit with a full cargo.

* Larger container ships would also be able to transit either in ballast or with lighter volume-based rather than bulk.

* The expanded canal is not expected to have much effect on voyage rates when time charter rates are depressed but it could affect rates in a stronger market and decrease the volatility of rates on West to East voyages.
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