Global Shipping, Global Trade & Economic Development — More Federal Money for Port Expansion?

The almost $6 billion project of expansion of the Panama Canal to handle “New Panamax” ships is scheduled for completion in 2014.  The completion of a third set of locks with deeper channels will allow much larger ships with deeper drafts passage.
This will be a game changer for U.S. trade and global shipping, especially for the East and Gulf Coast ports of the United States.
However, U.S. ports have not yet completed necessary infrastructure upgrades, mainly to deepen and widen harbors and upgrade port equipment in time for the canal opening. President Obama’s recently proposed budget does little to assist states meeting this challenge.
Global shipping is the backbone of global trade today. It moves the global trade in commodities and goods.
Global shipping is also a huge driver of state economic development, for those states that have major container operations in their ports.
Greater investment today creates more jobs today.  Greater federal assistance today is an investment for tomorrow. It is the kind of investment that keeps giving. More federal investment is needed now. The President and Congress should agree upon this crucial undertaking.

About Stuart Malawer

Distinguished Service Professor of Law & International Trade at George Mason University (Schar School of Public Policy).
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