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They are probably anticipating competition from both the as-yet-unbuilt Nicaraguan canal system and the potential for the Northwest Passage to thaw enough to allow regular ship traffic.
 

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Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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Donna, when we were there they did mention but the NWP but the Nicaraguan canal had not been announced. The biggest problem was just that there so many vessels that were bigger than Panamax. The new locks also reuse the water. They have fears that with climate change and more passages there might not be enough water to keep Gatun Lake up to necessary depths while servicing locks that emptied downstream. We went down the Pacific side with just three sailboats. A huge amount of water for just us.

The original hope (plan?) was to have the new locks open now (100th anniversary), but looks like it will be another 16 months or so. The project is not just the new locks, it is also deepening and straightening the Gaillard (?) Cut above the Pacific locks. That alone is a huge task.
 

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They were already starting on the cut backs of the sides when I went through in 2008. So its been a long project and just immense. One of the delights of doing the transit is to see how difficult it must have been with pick and shovel, and how far back the surrounding hills had to be lowered to avoid avalanches

With the Nicaraguan one, I hope that comes off too. It would be good for trade, good for the world. But I sincerely hope is isn't such an expensive nightmare that the Panama has been, nor does is totally root that beautiful environment.

I can't wait to go back through Panama again, but if the new one has opened, I would be through there in a shot too :)
 

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Sailboat Reboot
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They were already starting on the cut backs of the sides when I went through in 2008. So its been a long project and just immense. One of the delights of doing the transit is to see how difficult it must have been with pick and shovel, and how far back the surrounding hills had to be lowered to avoid avalanches

With the Nicaraguan one, I hope that comes off too. It would be good for trade, good for the world. But I sincerely hope is isn't such an expensive nightmare that the Panama has been, nor does is totally root that beautiful environment.

I can't wait to go back through Panama again, but if the new one has opened, I would be through there in a shot too :)
A couple of notes:
1) Bucyrus International, then Bucyrus-Erie (now part of Caterpillar) Bucyrus-Erie - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia provided 77 of the 102 steam shovels used to dig the Panama Canal.This is a very proud part of their heritage and one of the major reasons that the company prospered in the early years.
2) The Nicaraguan - Chinese canal is estimated to cost about $50 billion. With the widening of the Panama Canal I wonder (don't know, am no expert) if there is sufficient vessel traffic to support both canals.
3) Apparently they are not widening the canal (yes they are, the non-locks part as you noted.) But they are building an additional set of locks at both ends - maybe the plan is for the really big stuff to go through the new locks and us little guys get to use the old locks. We will see.
4) I was surprised to find that the major competitor to the Panama Canal is the Suez Canal. I guess you get to pick clockwise or counterclockwise. In general (it was stated in an article I read) that transit times are 3 to 4 days longer if one uses the Suez over the Panama.

Fair winds and following seas :)
 

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Heres some figures on what ships pay

Cargo ships are billed $82 per full container, $74 for an empty one. (So you really don’t want to have a lot of empties.) Then in a system that seems like it was copied from U.S. airlines, there are lots of extra fees on top of that. The ship passing by in the photo above was loaded with 3,800 containers, so here’s what the captain paid:

- $321,446 for the containers

- $11,445 for the work of 7 tugboats

- $4,745 for ground assistants

- $3,600 for ground wires

When they exit the other side of the canal, that transit alone will have added 1/3 of a $million to the cost of the goods on the ship. So if you’re in Boston getting coffee from Sumatra or a car from Korea, keep this in mind when you look at the price.
How Much Does It Cost to Go Through the Panama Canal? |

If its that much for each ship then no wonder the Chinese --- Opps, the Nicaraguans, want in!
 

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Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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I think they will use the new locks as much as possible because they use much less water. The old locks will be used to handle high traffic loads I think.
 

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Mark... Just to keep it in perspective at $100/container that works out to $100/40,000lbs of coffee or right at $.0025/lb.
 

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Over Hill Sailing Club
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If the Northwest Passage opens enough for regular ship passage, I bet the fees will come down. The distance of the Nicaraguan canal looks like it must be quite far as compared to the Panama route.
 
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