August 23, 2017
More than 1,600 neo-Panamax1 ships have passed through the expanded Panama Canal since its opening on June 26, 2016. The majority (82%) have been container or liquefied natural and petroleum gas vessels. The number of neo-Panamax ships calling on Eastern ports is expected to increase now that the clearing height of the Bayonne Bridge in New York has been raised. This was a critical milestone because economies of scale for shipping companies are maximized as larger vessels have access to the East Coast’s largest port. Thus, larger ports that can accommodate neo-Panamax ships and their adjacent industrial markets stand to gain market share as shipping companies transition to larger vessels.
1Neo-Panamax ships have nearly triple the cargo capacity and can carry more than double the weight of the maximum-size ships that could transit the Panama Canal before its expansion.