The Impact of Panama Canal Expansion Project on Trucking Services
What is the Panama Canal expansion?
The Panama Canal expansion is an ongoing infrastructural development project along the renowned Panama Canal trade route. Scheduled for completion in 2015, the project is aimed at expanding and improving the waterway which links the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
This expansion will allow for bigger sized vessels also referred to the Post-Panamax vessels to pass through the waterway hence transport more trade commodities to different regions of the world. It is estimated that vessels as big as 17,500 deadweight tons or 13,000 TEU will be able to cruise through the canal. This is a major improvement from the existing capacity of 5000 TEU vessels and it is expected to boost trade significantly.
How will the project affect trucking?
With increased traffic along the Panama Canal following the expansion project, there is bound to be higher demands for trucking services. In fact, a study was conducted on the implications of the canal expansion project and experts predict that many more trucks will be required to transport grains, petroleum products amongst other trading commodities. In particular, the East Coast ports are expected to experience an increased number of trucks which will be used in distribution services.
Apart from the number of trucks, the size of trucks is expected to double. Experts state that either, there will be bigger trucks or more shifts for trucking companies. This is because the trade between the West coast and the East Coast is expected to double over time. With more commodities to transport to different locations, there is bound to be a higher demand for trucking services and more pressure on the trucking companies.
On their part, the port authorities have been warned of an influx in the number of trucks expected to become part of this essential supply chain. To this effect, there will be need for the port authorities to come up with mechanisms of dealing effectively with this high traffic of trucks collecting and offloading cargoes at the ports.
Negative impacts of trucking services
The study conducted on the impact of the Panama Canal expansion project will have on trucking services showed that an estimated 15% of distribution services are done through rail services. The rest is through trucking. An increase in the demand of truck services may have the potential to affect the ports negatively. The following are some of the potential negative impacts that the trucks might have on the ports and the canal expansion project:
- High congestion at the ports. Where the ports in conjunction with the canal authorities fail to put in place a good system for checking in and out of cargoes, there is bound to be congestion and disorganization at the ports. This will definitely affect business negatively.
- High levels of carbon emission. If the trucks are not well organized, there will be high levels of carbon emission and this will lead to environmental degradation in the long run.
These problems will ultimately generate other problems at the port and it is essential for the port authorities as well as the canal authorities to come up with an organized system as the expansion project nears its end.
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