Panama Canal is one of the most strategic artificial waterways critical to maritime trade. It’s approximately 51 miles long, connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and divides north and south America. The united nations constructed it after a failed attempt by the French government. The waterway is a marvel of engineering that sees ships carrying over 700 tonnes cruising through. The canal has brought an impact on the surrounding environment.
Pros of the Panama Canal
1. Environmental enhancement: Promote enormous commitment and a great social-economic responsibility. Its operational demand complies with the highest environmental standards. It helps in reducing gas emissions to the environment.
The canal authority has contributed to the water-washed environment. Planting trees along the canal has helped reduce the speed of the water being released. Positively getting in control of soil erosion. Fuel reduction also has been brought about per cargo unit.
2. Reduction in locomotive fleet jams: Panama canal lowers the average transit period by rendering raised capacity. It allows the transit of post-Panamax vessels. The widening of it has seen an increase in the vessels per day. It cuts the locomotive fleet increase leading to increased cargo flow and decreasing transportation cost and transit time.
3. Increased economic environment: daily transit of goods is ever on the increase. The canal allows fast transit times with increasing capacity. It paves the way for increasing toll for revenue. It has allowed mega-ships such as Neo and posts Panama-x vessel to increase cargo tonnage input. Moreover, The estimated cargo rise would inevitably directly contribute to the economic activity increase.
4. Saving time: time has been saved since it was opened around south America. The structure permits naval ships to navigate from the Atlantic ocean more easily.
5. Job opportunities creation: every lock of the canal is made of steel and concrete. It took time for construction completely. Materials needed for the construction of this naval were tonnes and tonnes. This much bodywork led to the employment of one-third of central America and the Caribbean.
6. Improvement of infrastructure: the canal brings enough revenue to the US government. It makes it possible for the nation to develop infrastructure further and improve the existing ones.
7. It has made the US become a world superpower: the US was in control of the canal. At critical times the enemy only fought through the water power.us used this canal to transport ships and supplies to war quickly. They became completely in control of the Pacific and the Atlantic ocean. It was a geographical strategy to make us a powerful nation on the planet.
8. Cost saver in the shipping industry: it has positively impacted the shipping industry. It Saves time and operational costs for the Panamax vessels. It has brought significant savings for certain specific vessel categories.
9. Improved regional port infrastructure: its expansion led to increased economies of scale. The port terminals have increased productivity due to an increase in vessel size. The increased ship capacity has led to a successful rise in the supply chain. From these changes, the ports have incredibly pocketed sufficient incomes. The income has enabled several ports to have advanced in terms of infrastructure.
10. Increased business between Atlantic and pacific regions: the canal is a narrow isthmus with the shortest distance connecting these two geographical regions. Its suitable location has enabled swift transport of cargo and containers in these regions. It has also led to the encouragement of diplomatic states.
Cons of Panama canal
1. Competition from alternative routes: the emergency of different shipping routes like the Suez canal has brought massive competition. The Suez canal is capable of accommodating far more big ships than the ones that the Panama canal accommodates. Also, china’s efforts in constructing a mega canal will divert much traffic. Panama Canal has locks, unlike the Suez canal, hence making the Suez canal on a safer side in times of climate change.
2. Panama canal is too small; the canal was recently renovated to accommodate the ever large vessels navigating the seas. They had done far too little, given the newest shipbuilding trends and techniques. Maersk shipping company has already launched new vessels above the canal’s new accommodation limit. Surprisingly, the canal can’t widen and deepen from existing. It’s impossible to rebuild a new canal to accommodate the new big ships.
3. Critics for expansion: the government has not done anything to stop the urban sprawl development that leads to soil erosion. Also, contamination of the water supply to Panama City is being tainted and is not controlled. Underwater dredging and blasting brought about massive water pollution. It worsened after the completion of the renovation. Positive threats of climate change impending to hit the surrounding areas are rising probability.
4. Water washed environment: freshwater is discharged from the canal into the sea. Every time a ship navigates through the canal,52 million gallons of freshwater are discharged.
It is sufficient to supply a small city for one full day. This water comes out water-washed and laden with silt and unpredictably surges. Silt rises at the bottom of the artificial lakes designed as stores for the canal. Therefore, it reduces their capacity critically.
5. Climate change threatens canal operations: the Panama Canal faces a massive traffic jam. It leads to many vessels being stuck in anchorage for more days than expected. These spikes coincide with poor weather patterns. As a result, a slew of complaints from different shipping companies is seen—the role of the canal highlights an impending problem for the Panama canal.
6. The canal’s future is cloudy: Panama canal construction quality and viability are at stake. To be successful, the canal needs sufficient amounts of water. Durable concrete locks big enough to safely accommodate the developed larger ships are needed. Panama canal does not meet the expectations.
7. Negative impacts on the Suez canal: Panama canal is the preferred route over the Suez canal. The canal is not affected by the effects of icebergs. It’s a freshwater canal, not being the case with the Suez canal, which frequently gets hit by the icebergs—leading to the loss of customers the Suez canal. Also, the Panama Canal is the shortest route and allows faster transport of containers.
8. Inability to divert traffic to longer navigation routes: the canal has a limited geographical location. Thus not allowing room for diversion of sea routes.
9. Unsustainable development: although it was recently expanded, it still doesn’t meet the specifications of new ships being developed currently.