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The Panama Canal 2.0: Continental Helps Upgrade a Monument to Global Free Trade

August 30, 2012
Panama Canal dredging and widening projects

Currently, 45% of the world’s shipboard cargo can’t benefit from the resources of the Panama Canal.

Canals have always been a keystone of American commerce. From the earliest days of this nation, when the Erie Canal opened the waterways of Middle America to the dockyards of the Eastern Seaboard -thereby creating factory boomtowns in places such as Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Cleveland – canals have gone hand-in-hand with major commerce. That being said, we’ve come a long way since the days of “mules named Sal,” as the old song about the Erie Canal goes. Within this past century, the openings of the Panama and Suez Canals provided a true means for intercontinental commercial traffic to connect. Billions of tons of cargo have passed through both canals since their construction. With these two development projects alone, our globe finally began being the “smaller” world that many today proclaim it to be.

That being said, there are technological advancements in the modern era that put the “engineering miracles” of both the Panama and Suez Canal into sharp perspective. Currently, there are ocean tankers plying the world that are too wide and deep for the Panama Canal to accommodate. While these ocean tankers account for only 14-15% of seaborne commercial traffic, the total volume of seaborne commercial goods they are responsible for carrying per year weighs in at around 45% of total global traffic. In other words, 45% of the world’s shipboard cargo can’t benefit from the resources of the Panama Canal.

That’s a situation that is fast improving. As this blog is being written, massive dredging and widening projects are underway in Panama to allow for the Canal to accommodate these new, behemoth commercial cargo vessels. Huge quantities of steel are being brought into play to insure this economic opportunity becomes a reality as soon as possible. And guess who’s helping provide stainless steel for this megalithic project? You guessed it, the good people at Continental Steel and Tube.

Being strong advocates of global free trade ourselves, we are pleased that our steel is being used to build what many consider to be one of free trade’s most enduring monuments. The Panama Canal has helped America become a world-class mercantile and naval power in the 20th century, and brought immeasurable amounts of prosperity to others besides. It’s time for a Panama Canal 2.0. It’s time for the future. It’s time for Continental Steel and Tubing to put its shoulder to the wheel.

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