The Post-Panamax Effect: How the Panama Canal Expansion is Reshaping America’s Ports
Source: Blue print-CBRE;
PLAY OF THE LAND
But how immediately this influx of new business — in the form of cargo shipped from Asia directly to the East Coast — will land in the reconfigured ports has yet to be determined.
The $5.25 billion expansion project has already created a new set of locks that will accommodate these larger vessels, providing shippers easier access to North America.
But while the transition may not happen overnight, many ports along the East Coast are moving quickly and spending serious money.
The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) estimates that ports and their private sector partners are investing over $9 billion a year to modernize and expand port facilities.
These port renovations fall into three main categories: land-side connections (the roads and rail lines that lead into the ports); water-side connections (especially those that need to be deepened and widened to accommodate greater volumes in these Post-Panamax vessels); and the port facility infrastructure itself (often referred to as “inside the gate”).
The association estimates there are 125 port-related infrastructure projects underway or planned, cumulatively valued at $29 billion. Except for on-dock rail, these projects are mostly improvements outside of port facilities, including intermodal connectors, gateway and corridors and marine highways.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has dedicated $1.3 billion for the Bayonne Bridge Navigational Clearance Project, which will raise the bridge to 215 feet from 151 feet for the passage of these larger ships. It has also spent over $2.7 billion for other improvements to its water-side and land-side connections, along with its port facility infrastructure.