response discussion: port of tampa- 2

Kelly Roy posted Jun 30, 2022 8:52 PM

As ports in Florida are prepared for the Panama Canal expansion, there is significant involvement by the private sector. Discuss the dynamics of this IGR initiative and its potential impact (benefits and challenges) from a societal perspective. Do you feel that the benefits to society (e.g., economic growth) outweigh the drawbacks in this case? Why or why not?

Back in 2010 the USDA published a report called the IMPACT OF PANAMA CANAL EXPANSION ON THE U.S. INTERMODAL SYSTEM that indicates that the expansion of the Panama Canal allows for the potential for trade to be diverted to the East Coast from the traditional West Coast ports. This was 6 years before the canal was completed but the US was invested in the expanded import and export options the expanded canal would provide.

The expansion of the Panama Canal which was completed in 2016 added a third lane which allowed for larger ships to use the canal because as we know most US imports come via ship of some kind. The expansion of the canal also allowed for US produced natural gas to be shipped to places such as Asia which increases revenue to the US. “The waterway annually registers nearly 14,000 transits, a value equal to 6 percent of global trade.” “The United States remains the top user of the Canal—in 2019, 66 percent of the cargo traffic transiting the Canal began or ended its journey at a U.S. port” (Runde 2021) That amount of transit is quite significant to the global market.

It is hard to overlook the jobs that this expansion created for those who live and work close to the ports of entry in the Gulf of Mexico for example. According to the Port of Tampa Bay’s website a 2015 study showed that the “Port Tampa Bay supports more than 85,000 direct, indirect, induced and related jobs annually throughout the west central Florida region.” I have seen the Port of Tampa by air many times and the improvements that were made in response to the expansion of the canal were very noticeable though I was very much not aware of what I was looking at at the time, but now after reading these articles I can distinctly remember watching the shift happen over the years (we go to FL every year).

While jobs are very important to our economic stability and the expanded shipping options does help to reduce the cost of good to the consumer, I worry about the impacts of this expansion on the environment. I was able to find some sources that referred to rising sea levels in the Caribbean, but I could not confirm if they were reputable sources. But it is something that I would like to know more about if any of my peers is able to find a reputable source. I did come across a National Geographic that looked promising, but you had to subscribe to read. 

Runde, Daniel 2021 https://www.csis.org/analysis/key-decision-point-coming-panama-canal

USDA Report https://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/Impact%20of%20Panama%20Canal%20Expansion%20on%20the%20U.S.%20Intermodal%20System.pdf

https://www.porttb.com/85000-jobs

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