Although the new locks and a deeper, wider shipping channels will potentially double the waterway’s capacity, the increased efficiencies of larger neo-panamax boxships may ultimately undermine rates, according to the Xeneta container benchmarking and market intelligence platform.

The upgraded canal opened on 26 June with the transit of the 9,472-teu Cosco Shipping Panama (built 2016), giving containerships up to around 13,000 teu all-water access from Asia to the US East Coast (USEC).