International trade will receive a strong boost with the inauguration of the works increasing the Panama Canal. They will allow much larger ships to pass, and greater traffic and diversification of goods, as well as benefiting the commercial relations of South America with the East Coast of Mexico, the Gulf, the Caribbean and the USA, not to mention the rest of the world.
The main cargo vessels which go through the Canal are tankers closely followed by grain ships.
The USA is the main customer of the Panama Canal, as well as China and Chile. The latter has greatly increased its value regarding cargo volume in recent years. Japan, on the other hand, had a cyclical behavior, reached second place among the most important countries and has gradually yielded its importance.
The Panama Canal has a special impact on our region, and represents a strong influence on international maritime trade for every economy, especially those of Central America.
The feedback which is produced between the Canal and the economies of countries is very important, in that they benefit from the Canal and in turn have allowed it to be sustained in recent years. Here I add “We expect Argentina to continue contributing with cargoes, whether by the multimodal channel through Chile and the Pacific coast, or by the port of Buenos Aires on the Atlantic coast and that the economy of our area evolves positively and progressively”.
The increase of the Canal is expected to be concluded and put into operation in 2015. This would not only give greater capacity to the Canal and allow more tonnage to be moved, thanks to the new canals and locks, but would mean the opening to the trade of new products.
There is a strong impact on the region, especially on the people concentrated on the east coast and in the south of the USA Particularly in Central America (Gulf and Caribbean) and in Texas State. The anchoring of these boats on the east coast and in the Gulf of Mexico will improve the flow of goods.
In my opinion Latin America would no longer be the “backyard” of the USA, but would be seen as a strong economy. One will begin to see that Central America is an area which deserves one’s attention. The countries there have as sources of supply China, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Thailand, South Korea and the European Union, etc.
This shows that the geographical location of Panama is the driving force which provides the country and the Canal the dynamic required to be able to serve all the continent. The ports of Panama have a greater capacity for moving containers, both for transfer and for exportation, than the remaining ports in the region.
Although a lot is said about economies of scale, currently one also talks about economies of scope. The latter are those which go beyond the scale, give connectivity and add greater value and reliability by means of Panama.
In the Pacific there is also the port of Balboa, which has a little activity and is seeking to expand to be able to receive more ships than it can currently. One should also stress the Free-Trade Zone of Colón, which constitutes the main driving force of the area