The First Container Ship Passes Through the Newly Expanded Panama Canal
A new, enormous class of container ship will be able to pass through carrying up to 14,000 containers. That is almost five times the current ships which hold an average of 3500 containers.
The expanded Panama Canal has just opened for business; an event that will have a major impact on the toy and play industry. By widening the canal, a ten year, $5.4 billion project, a new, enormous class of container ship will be able to pass through carrying up to 14,000 containers. That is almost five times the current ships which hold an average of 3500 containers.
These sea going behemoths, called Neo-Panamax ships, measure close to 1,000 feet in length (larger than a football field) so the widening was necessary to allow them passage without going around the tip of South America. The wider canal will mean that east coast companies can avoid unloading in ports like Long Beach, California and having to ship overland. This will result in four major benefits for the toy and play industry:
1. Major time and cost savings as east coast companies will no longer have to unload on the west coast and ship overland by truck or rail.
2. A reduction in freight costs due to the larger container ships providing economies of scale.
3. Reduced seasonal backups because the west coast ports will have less traffic fighting to get access to land and unload.
4. Less exposure to west coast strikes because carriers can, if necessary, redirect to the east coast.
Bottom line the expanded Panama Canal will provide cost savings to consumers and security to toy companies and retailers in the knowledge that products will make it to store shelves in time for Christmas.