October 3 - Project cargo forwarders handling containerised cargo through US East Coast ports may find the arrival of larger box ships following the expansion of the Panama Canal actually slows down the transit of their boxes through ports along the Easte

According to a report in the Drewry Logistics Executive Briefing, industry observers are warning that the ability of larger ships, carrying up to 14,000 teu from Asia through the widened canal, to serve US East Coast ports may swamp port handling facilities designed for smaller shipping. Port-related cargo delays may result as security, parking, storage and handling equipment deal with fewer but larger ships.

Moving from a typical 8.000 teu ship that is currently likely to call along the East Coast from Asia to a 14,000 teu ship effectively doubles the volume of containers to be discharged. Ports that are running at full capacity cannot so easily double facilities; instead, dwell times for import and export traffic are likely to increase.

Panama has spent more than USD 5 billion in widening and dredging the Panama Canal to support Post Panamax ships. Among other investments that US East Coast ports are making in preparation for the larger ships, the Port of New York plans to spend USD 1.3 billion to raise the Bayonne Bridge 19.5 m to accommodate Post Panamax shipping. The expanded canal will open in 2015.