This blog’s mission, if you want to call it that, is to highlight the intersection of American and Latin American news and events.
The expansion of the Panama Canal is a crucial event that, for the most part, has been ignored by the American news media. It’s going on right now, and expected to be completed in April 2015. It will enable super-large ships, called “Post-Panamax,” to cross, but it necessitates that ports around the world, and especially in the Gulf states are deepend to accomodate them.
Roberto Roy, Panama’s Minister for Canal Affairs and Georgia Tech graduate, met with Georgia governor Nathan Deal,
“It is a critical issue for Georgia and for Savannah,” Roy said in an interview outside the governor’s office. “The reason is that the shipping fleet is totally changing. It is not only a matter of the ships being bigger. The key is that the most important variable is the fuel costs.”
Roy said the new ships can carry more containers, which makes them more energy efficient with significantly lower fuel costs per container.
“That is the game changer,” Roy said.
Georgia already has received the necessary federal approvals for the project, but it will need hundreds of millions of dollars in order to complete the deepening of the port. Reed has been working with state leaders to build support within President Barack Obama’s administration and other Democratic leaders for the project.
“Georgia needs to do a hard lobbying in Washington to get approval for this dredging,” Roy said. “The message is the fleet is changing, and we are already late.”
Let’s hope the bureaucrats in Washington are listening. An infrastructure project of this magnitude should have already started in the US ports, instead of those so-called “shovel ready jobs” that wasted the stimulus money.