March 1, 2006
A canal expansion is urgent.If Panama is going to widen the canal to allow larger ships through, it will have to expand and upgrade its port infrastructure as well. Private port operators, with an eye on winning new concessions and opportunities for new revenue streams, are putting billions of dollars behind the effort.
The Panama Canal Authority's (PCA) 20-year master plan calls for expanding the waterway by building a new set of locks and widening existing ones, in a plan that could take 10 years to complete, at a cost of $10 billion. A nationwide referendum on the expansion proposal is slated for 2006 and is expected to gain widespread support. The shipping industry contribute
Trade is growing, so the government and private port operators have to make room for bigger ships using the Panama Canal and the ports.