The dynamics of world trade are changing. A consortium of European companies is deepening and expanding the Panama Canal in a project that may trigger a once-in-a-century shakeup of maritime commerce.
Once this expansion is complete, the canal will have a third lane capable of accommodating megaships nearly three times larger than any vessel that has thus far transited the isthmus. Transoceanic freighters from China will have enhanced access to the coalfields of Colombia, the soy plantations of Brazil and the ports of the American East Coast. Transoceanic freighters from Europe will have enhanced access to the copper mines of Chile, the ports of the American West Coast and even to consumers in the Orient—should the route through the Suez Canal prove treacherous.