The Panama Canal is currently in the process of a major expansion effort. After the new set of locks is opened in 2016, significantly larger ships can traverse the Canal. The current lock system has been in place for over 100 years, even though the size of ocean-going vessels has expanded considerably. One impact is on Panama’s maritime cluster. It is expected that the expansion will result in greater demand for many of the goods and services provided by the cluster.
PortEconomics associate member Grace Wang, along with Anthony Pagano, Onésimo Sánchez, Ricardo Ungo and Eddie Tapiero examined the economic impact of the Canal expansion on Panama’s maritime cluster. Clusters of economic activity can result in economies of agglomeration and supply chain network effects. Without these economies and network effects, clusters would not have a competitive advantage over businesses that are not in a cluster. It is expected that with a larger cluster, both agglomerative economies and network effects will increase. But, which cluster components will grow and which will not be affected to a great extent? To what extent will bottlenecks appear?
The port study was published in Maritime Policy & Management, Volume 43, Issue 2 and you may access it via MPM webpage.