John Scwartz’s New York Times article “Panama Canal’s Growth Prompts U.S. Ports to Expand”, dated August 20, 2012, identifies the opportunities and issues which the Panama Canal expansion presents for U.S. coastal cities and their ports.
The article stresses the importance of the port modification work being performed in east coast cities and states that shipment by sea remains the most economic method of transporting cargo. Clearly, the cities and ports on both ports have huge vested interests in preserving their positions in the cargo supply chain while meeting challenges that are well-beyond local interests. The challenge posed by the Panama Canal expansion and by the Post-Panamax ships is a national one, and one that warrants examination because of its potential impact on our competitiveness for decades to come, and possibly into the next century.
Port cities throughout the U.S. are scrambling to upgrade their infrastructure to accommodate the larger post-Panamax vessels. This entails significant (and ongoing) dredging efforts and includes roadway and bridge retrofits in some cities. Even with these efforts, there is one problem which existing U.S. ports cannot overcome easily. They are burdened with existing ports and legacy systems that have become antiquated and that significantly undermine their competitiveness against newer and more modern facilities globally. No U.S. ports can accept the new post-Panamax ships and the even larger vessels that are on the very near-term horizon.
The following points bolster our case that LIGTT is the best-positioned to exploit the rapidly changing global cargo shipment economics:
- LIGTT has natural advantages over any other port in the U.S. because of its strategic location in the Gulf of Mexico.
- We stress the need for the President to include LIGTT among the projects that should receive expedited review.
The Obama administration has now moved to speed up the review process for developing and deepening the harbors for several of these ports, including those of New York and New Jersey; Charleston, S.C.; Savannah, Ga.; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Miami. The initiative “will help drive job growth and strengthen the economy,” President Obama said in announcing it last month.
– NY Times, August 20, 2012
- The economic advantages of LIGTT’s hub-and-spoke transshipment model are noteworthy. LIGTT sits at the nexus of every major U.S. rail carrier, and has the potential to transform economies of ports along the Mississippi River.
- Financing is a key concern for all of the projects mentioned in the article. LIGTT uses NO government financing and is purely financed by private investment – foreign direct investment.
- The operational and life-cycle costs of LIGTT are projected to be relatively low because it resides in the Gulf of Mexico, where the water is 70 feet deep; more than sufficient to handle Post-Panamax and Super-Panamax vessels. Repetitive dredging will not be required to maintain the depth.
- LIGTT increases America’s competitiveness by providing an attractive location for transshipment. This is supported by 13 years of research and independent study.
- LIGTT will incorporate the latest screening technologies and security management systems to ensure that the transshipment hub sets the model for border security in the industry. LIGTT will be the most secure and technologically advanced port in North America.
- The long-term economic benefits of LIGTT make it a revolutionary project because of regional multiplier effects.
- It will incorporate state-of-the-art technologies in logistics, security, tracking and automated cargo handling. LIGTT is designed to be the center of a hub-and-spoke system that will serve as the logistical gateway to America’s heartland.
The U.S. severely lags the rest of the world in modernized container shipment facilities. LIGTT will catapult the U.S. shipping industry into the 21st century and level the playing field between North America and its global peers.