January 9, 2017

Panama Canal expansion boosts trade at inland ports

Ohio trade delegation inks marketing partnership with canal authority.

By DC Velocity Staff

The ripples from the expanded Panama Canal continue to spread to waterways across North America, including inland freshwater ports like the Ohio River.

Huge, post-Panamax-size container ships began steaming through the delayed Panama Canal expansion project in late June, triggering many mid-size ports to dredge deeper shipping channels and expand their container handling capabilities.

That trend could also reach to the American Midwest, according to Meagan Barnes, vice president of marketing and business development at Superior Marine Ways Inc. and manager of the Port of South Point, in southern Ohio.

In December, Barnes made a presentation to the Administrator of the Panama Canal Authority on the Port of South Point and the Ohio River, and their impact on the region and on global shipping, according to a story in the Gallipolis Daily Tribune.

Barnes was in Panama City, Panama, as one of the U.S. representatives to be present for the signing of a marketing and trade partnership between the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) and Inland Rivers Ports and Terminals Inc. (IRPT), the trade association for U.S. inland waterway, port, and terminal professionals.

Widening the canal will create a new lane of traffic through the construction of a new set of locks, doubling the waterway's capacity. That could lead to more barge traffic along the Ohio River and expanded business at The Point, a 500-acre industrial park in South Point, Ohio.

"The partnership with the Panama Canal is critical to freight movements along our inland waterways, creating a vertically aligned supply chain for logistics in our region and a solution to transportation congestion," Barnes told the newspaper.

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