Where is the big Panama Canal study?

One time Lloyd’s Shipping Economist contributor Paul Stott, now of Newcastle University, was one of the attendees of Dr Martin Stopford’s Retirement Party. Paul is looking into the impact of the expanded Panama Canal, and has done his own study. But we both agreed it was surprising there isn’t a general Panama Canal Expansion Study available for sale from a shipbroker or consultant.

The expanded Panama Canal is scheduled to open in 2014/2015 and could be a massive game changer in the shipping industry. Therefore one would expect to see a shipping consultancy or research house offering an equally massive report on the subject. Questions include; What will be the size of the new Panamax Dry Bulk Carrier (harder than you think, not just based on new Canal dimensions)? How will the expanded Canal affect the Crude and Product Tanker trade? How will the proposed fees affect the liner trades? Banks are in the market for such a report. They need comfort that they are they financing ships that will retain value in a post-expanded Panama Canal era.

An internet check on the usual suspects shows no such report in the offering, although a Google search shows Fearnleys produced a report on the bunker market for the Panama Canal Authority on 2003.  Drewrys produced a report in 2005 for APL. Given the amount of data to be analysed, especially if you include vessel movements, producing a general sale report is at least a twelve month project. Having a first edition on sale now would be necessary in order to have an up to date edition available when the expanded Panama Canal opens.

Where to start? Two studies earlier studies are posted on the Panama Canal Authority website. The first is by Richardson Lawrie Associates and was published in 2001 called “The Development of Long-Term Traffic Forecasts for the Panama Canal 2001-2050“. The second study was undertaken by MergeGlobal Inc in 2003 using 1999 Panama Canal Authority data. These would form useful starting points for a new report.

Of course, it could be I didn’t look hard enough, and there is a new Panama Canal Expansion report out there. If you have produced the big Panama Canal study and it is for sale now, then send me a copy to review on this blog.


About Craig Jallal
A shipping analyst whose feels the need to comment on the industry.

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