Expanded Panama Canal regains Asia – US East Coast top spot

The Panama Canal had lost ground to the Suez Canal in recent years as container lines could deploy much large vessels on the route to the US East Coast than the 4,000 – 5,000 teu panamax vessels they were restricted to using the Panama Canal. Although the distance is further, the economies of scale made it worthwhile to transit via the Suez Canal.

However, according to Alphaliner, with the opening of the expansion of the Panama Canal, it has a 57% share of the container trade from Asia – US East Coast in July compared to 48% at the start of the year.

Although the number of services via the Panama Canal has fallen from 16 a year ago to 13, overall capacity is up as lines are able to deploy larger vessels with six of the loops deploying vessels of 5,500 – 10,000 teu.

“Of the eight remaining Suez services, one or two could be shifted to Panama as the 2M and Ocean 3 carriers have still to reconfigure their all-water service offerings with larger ships,” Alphaliner said.

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