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Port of Miami: Post-Panamax Access

Published: 20 May 2015 01:05:39 PST

The nature of global trade is about to change...

For the second-time in its almost 100-year history, the Panama Canal will significantly alter global trade…with the main impact being felt here on the U.S. East Coast and Gulf ports. The Panama Canal will soon have a third lane that can accommodate mega-ships nearly three times larger than any vessel that has ever transited the isthmus over the past century.

The canal upgrade encompasses modifications on both the Pacific and Atlantic ends of the canal, construction of new lock complexes, deepening of the navigation channels, water-saving basins, and excavation of new access channels and elevation of the maximum operating level of Gatun Lake, a huge artificial lake that forms a major part of the Panama Canal. The likelihood of increased import/export shipping and high anticipation of economic windfall from the larger capacity post-Panamax ships, sparked years of studies and planning efforts to deepen ports and create landside infrastructure. Currently, four West Coast ports are already post-Panamax ready while Norfolk is the only East Coast port that is post-Panamax ready. Baltimore, New York and Miami are all scheduled to be post-Panamax ready (dredging, rail, highway improvements, raising bridge height) between 2013 – 2015.

With Miami’s geographical advantage, it is poised to ride an economic wave with the completion of the canal expansion. The unique mix of services at the Port of Miami and its relationship to local, regional and international economies makes it the natural maritime transshipment point for cargo in both the north-south trade between the Americas and the growing east-west trade with Asia. Their goal - be the first port of call for many vessels after passing through the canal with a new focus on logistics and international trade. How?


Bringing the Biscayne Bay channel depth to 50 feet to accommodate the larger, fully laden post-Panamax ships and provide ships with a more efficient, reliable and safe navigational route into the Port of Miami.


Reestablishing the link between the port and the Hialeah Intermodal Rail yard that connects to national rail lines (Norfolk Southern and CSX in Jacksonville); create a 400-acre, rail serviced logistics park with 1.5 million square feet of warehouse space adjacent to Miami International Airport and Hialeah yard where imports in 40-foot containers can be swapped to 53-foot domestic containers, stored or reconfigured for final delivery.

Truck Tunnel

Construction of a tunnel that will serve as a dedicated roadway connector linking port facilities with Florida’s Interstate 1-95—only four minutes away.


Creating an on dock intermodal facility for ease of ship-to-rail container transport, allow greater access to inland port facilities (Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale) where an intermodal transfer facility (ITCF) will be built for a seamless connection to major railroads.

All of these infrastructure changes are designed to increase the flow of goods heading north. The Port of Miami and Florida East Coast Railway are currently focused on not only enticing ocean carriers but also manufacturers, exporters, importers, 3PLs, freight-forwarders and custom house brokers for greater market penetration. Miami has been approached to work with Chinese business interests as a principal access point for Asian imports into the southeast U.S.; under consideration is a dedicated on-port office tower for Chinese multi-national firms located in the midst of a downtown Miami World Trade Center complex. Allowing opportunity for Chinese multi-nationals to display goods for the entire market of the Americas, as Miami is already a center of trade and commerce for Latin America as well as the southeast U.S.

PIERS U.S. port data now lets you drill all the way down to the individual terminal operators, learn more about PIERS terminal data. PIERS offers comprehensive, transaction level trade details for international countries’ imports and exports via waterborne, rail, truck, air and pipeline modes of transportation.  For more information on our international data visit PIERS and request a FREE sample.

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