Panama Canal: turn on the gas
Panama’s economy will get a boost from the transit of gas carriers through the canal.
American producers of natural gas expect to increase shipments to Asia, via the canal, which will accomodate big ships, once a new set of locks comes into operation in 2015.
Panama is the shortest route between Asia, the world’s biggest gas importer after the European Union, and ports on the gulf coast of the United States.
Japan, South Korea and China are the main Asian importers.
Ships capable of carrying up to 165,000 cubic meters of liquified natural gas (LNG) will be able to transit the new locks.
Although LNG carriers with a cargo capacity of up to 260,000 cubic meters are on order, any ship of the world’s current fleet could use the new canal.
Canal revenues last year represented 7% of the value of Panama´s national production - $2,4 billion out of a total of $36 billion.
Meanwhile, the Panamanian economy is expected to grow by nearly 9% in 2013, following increases of close to 10% in each of the past four years.