Pulling power

WORKERS at a fish market in Panama City disagree on the benefits of the country’s newly widened canal. One optimistically hopes the government will have more funds to pay for air-conditioning in their broiling workplace. Another draws a finger across his throat and says, “The people will get nothing.” A third calls it “the biggest opportunity” in Panama. The last verdict is certainly true of the government’s take. The revenue it receives each year from the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) is expected to double to around $2 billion in 2021. This is a country that knows how to reap the benefits of its geography.

The ACP will be able to charge more for passage to bigger ships now that massive new locks have been built at both the Pacific and Atlantic ends of the canal and channels have been deepened and widened. The $5 billion venture will be inaugurated on June 26th when the first vessel officially sails through. The widening of the canal was initially mooted before the second world war, but became more urgent as ever larger ships were unable to use it.

Over 960m cubic metres of cargo passed...Continue reading