Historic canal developments

The world is most likely to witnessthree historic canal developments: doubling of Panama's capacity; construction ofa rival Atlantic-Pacific canal across Nicaragua; and thenew Suez canal turning much of the original into a two-lane marine highway. Panama is facinga number of challenges:

  1. Win more traffic from the rival Suez Canal.Suez is a sea-level canal with no locks or pinch-points.
  2. Relocation of some manufacturing fromChina to more southeasterly parts of Asia, closer to the Suez route.
  3. Technicalproblems with dodgy cement and machinery at the new locks
  4. The Nicaraguan government endorsed the route for a 278-km(173-mile) potentially sea-level (and therefore lock-free) canal connecting the Pacific to the Atlantic using the Brito River, Lake Nicaragua andrivers on the Atlantic side.
  5. Shipping containers from Shanghai to New York takes 26 days via Panama, versus 28 days using Suez.The firm with the biggest ships, A.P. Moeller-Maersk, has stopped sailing via Panama, and now uses Suez instead.

- See more at:http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/08/economist-explains-9