The long-awaited Panama Canal expansion opened on June 26, 2016 with a ceremonial ship passing through the waterway. The U.S. grains industry, including the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), has eagerly anticipated the completion of the Canal expansion project since it was announced nearly a decade ago.
"The Canal is a vital trade route for all grains and other agricultural commodities that are shipped from the U.S. Corn Belt to Asia," said USGC Chairman and Nebraska farmer Alan Tiemann, who attended the ceremony. "In fact, with the completion of this project, it is estimated that the cost to transport grain between those two points will drop."
This project was the largest expansion for the Canal in nearly a century. The multibillion dollar plan constructed a new set of locks that allowed for the passage of wider, longer and heavier loaded ships.
While the exact impact of the Canal's expansion on the global grain trade remains uncertain, the Canal's ability to handle Capesize vessels will create greater opportunities for exports.
For more about the grand opening of the Panama Canal, watch Alan's Tiemann's interview below with Market Journal.
For more information on the expansion project, visit the Panama Canal Authority's website here.