The Port of Los Angeles is the busiest container port in the United States and is hoping it’s going to stay that way after the Panama Canal expansion opens in 2015. It currently ranks in the top 20 in the world for container ports by volume but will be under some increasing competition once the giant new container ships are able to pass through the Panama Canal’s new bigger third lock and thereby gaining greater access to major ports on the east coast of the country.
To ensure they are ready to compete effectively, the port has made huge investments and just recently completed a $370 million channel deepening project that was essential in order to handle even the most gigantic of the new container vessels. Antonio Villaraigosa, Mayor of Los Angeles stated, “This project was important to us because we understand that in order to compete with ports in the United States and around the world, we’ve got to make investments.” He continued, “And we’ve made US$1.3 billion in investments and some 20,000 jobs to make sure we’re competitive.”
While the port of Los Angeles does it’s best to upgrade to more state-of-the-art facilities, ports on the east coast are also doing their best to dredge their waterways and modernize their ports but have been facing some difficult financial and environmental challenges in order to do so. Ports in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina all recognize the golden economic opportunities once the Panama Canal expansion is complete, but their progress to be able to capitalize on it has been slowed somewhat due to a lack of Federal investment dollars to date. These eastern regions still remain hopeful nonetheless and continue to prepare with the necessary infrastructure improvements needed to compete effectively in the future.
Back on the west coast in Los Angeles, it appears their port is ready now to handle whatever size ship comes their way. They knew what they had to do as far back as 10 years ago when the dredging to deepen the channel first began. The region’s officials certainly made the right investment in their future when they needed to in the past and it paid off over the years by creating thousands of jobs that have contributed tens of millions of dollars into the local economy. Investing is all about enjoying a great investing experience and it appears as though the Port of Los Angeles’s investments will pay off well into the future, as they do their best to remain the country’s busiest container port.
Up until recently, the West coast has been the main beneficiary of the bigger cargo ships from Asia. Now with the expansion of the Panama Canal allowing for larger vessels to pass through, it creates enormous opportunities for ports on the East coast of the United States, allowing them to finally be able to effectively compete with the West coast ports; for more business from the eastern parts of the world. One eastern region in particular, Florida, is quite confident it will be ready to compete, when the time comes.
“If I were running a port on the West Coast, I would be on the alert, because the expansion of the canal is going to benefit the Port of Miami and other ports on this coast.”- Port of Miami sub-director.
The Port of Miami, calling itself the Bridge to the Americas, has been busy the last few years getting prepared to capitalize on the impending global trade opportunities. In doing so, the port has invested more than $2 billion modernizing and upgrading their shipping facilities, to be ready when the Panama Canal expansion is complete. These infrastructure investments have spawned thousands of jobs for the region and helped stimulate Florida’s economy in the process. It is estimated that the port will double it’s capacity in the next five to ten years and will support up to 30,000 jobs, throughout the state.
While it may be too early to accurately predict the changes in global trade routes, some of the major shipping companies have already started to establish agreements with accessible global ports, as the new shipping routes begins to take shape. Port and State officials have been determined to become a port destination of choice for industry leaders when the time comes, and it appears as though the Port of Miami will be ready to compete, when the Panama Canal expansion is finished in 2015.
It looks like New Zealand doesn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to capitalize on the new global economy of the future. The Port of Tauranga, the country’s largest, just opened it’s new expansion of the port and is looking forward to the benefits that will come as a result of all the upgrading. Although there still is some more dredging work to be done to widen and deepen the Tauranga Harbor shipping channels, the project is expected to begin in late 2013. Among the improvements made was a $30 million extension to the terminal’s wharf length, increasing it by 170 meters as well as the installation of a new Super-Post Panamax gantry crane that brings the total number of Terminal container cranes to six. These improvements will allow for larger container vessels to dock and ensure that New Zealand remains in a strong competitive position, moving forward into the future.
“Our ability to cater for larger ships will not only benefit the Bay of Plenty, but also the broader national economy. These investments are vital to ensure New Zealand s exporters can remain competitive globally … We’re now in an excellent position to handle new services and the growing trend to more frequent visits from larger ships.“- Port of Tauranga Chief Executive.
The new global economy is taking shape all around the world. With the advent of the new giant post-panamax vessels, global port cities have had little choice but to upgrade and modernize shipping ports, in order to accommodate the huge container ships. Currently, many of the old global sea-trade routes are being redrawn and are becoming increasingly focused on the ports and regions that have the ability to accommodate the larger shipping vessels. Ports that aren’t able to dock them, simply will be left off the new routes, leaving the surrounding regions in a serious competitive disadvantage.
The Panama Canal Expansion is expected to be complete sometime in mid-2015 and many analysts believe it will signal the “unofficial” start to the new global economy that will be more inclusive and more prosperous than ever before. In fact, with the new emerging consumer markets continuing to grow and contribute to the overall world economy, there are some industry experts who believe that there could indeed be an economic boom, before the year 2020. Countries, regions and investors that are preparing for this global rise in prosperity, have already begun to invest in profitable opportunities that will be the most likely to deliver investment profits, when it finally unfolds. Those that don’t may in effect, have no choice but to watch their future economic prospects sail right on by. It looks like New Zealand will be ready to compete for sure.