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The Panama Canal expansion project, completed in 2016, meant new locks, wider and deeper ship channels and higher maximum operating water levels. While the canal now accepts the massive Neo-Panamax and Post-Panamax cargo ships, “at present, Texas seaports can’t accept fully-loaded Neo-Panamax ships,” said a report issued by the state’s Comptroller’s office. Basically, in order to take advantage of the Panama Canal expansion, Texas waterways need to be a lot deeper.
But, larger ships require more than waterway expansions. Infrastructure, such as larger terminals and cranes, and additional storage and logistics facilities are also necessary. Texas ports, along with private-sector partners, will invest $48 billion on capital improvements over the next five years.
It’s uncertain how much additional economic activity the Panama Canal expansion will generate, even with the huge infrastructure and upgrade investments. However, the Comptroller’s report indicated that some Texas ports are already seeing some benefits from the expansion.
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