“We are looking at the demand and demand is what [will] rule [the project],” Panama Canal Authority (ACP) executive vice president for marketing and business development Rodolfo Sabonge told the AAPA’s XXII Latin American ports congress held in Bogota, Colombia. The studies underway will determine what would be the dimensions of the future locks and when to begin building them, he said.
The ACP is watching closely the growth of the super post-panamax vessels already on order and under construction. The fleet of super post-panamax ships was 3% in 2013 in terms of teu capacity and will grow to 9% by 2016.
Increasing costs are forcing shipping lines to consider building bigger ships and forming new alliances to reduce expenses. The new vessels will have to transit via the Suez since super post-panamaxes over 14,000 teu will not be able to transit the future expanded Panama Canal. “Size does matter” which is the reason of these new feasibility studies, Sabonge explained.
“The ACP strategy today is the development of a maritime and logistics cluster and strengthen the Panama position not only as a route but evolving into a centre for cargo concentration,” he said.