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Wed, 12 Jun 2013

The Nicaragua Canal

I doubt it'll happen - just about every mega-project that flares up in the news never actually happens - but one thing in this article grabbed my attention.

" Many have been asking whether Central America needs two canals, even in an age of growing world trade. "

No-one who cared about free trade would ask that. Competition is Good. While there are other routes between the Atlantic and the Pacific, they are either very long (around south America) or not reliably open (Northwest Passage). The Panama canal is also not big enough for many modern ships, and still won't be even after the current upgrades are complete (see image to right). Broadly speaking, the larger your ship the cheaper it is to run per ton-mile of cargo, and it's less polluting too. And, of course, shorter routes between the same two ports are also cheaper.

Posted at 17:53 by David Cantrell
keywords: economics | engineering | transport
Permalink | 1 Comment

Interesting to note that Panamax is documented to the nearest 1cm. I guess that ships are being built very close to the limit.

By my calculation, a steel Panamax ship will expand/contract by 1cm of length for 3 degrees difference in temperature.

Posted by Andrew Beattie on Thu, 13 Jun 2013 at 06:12:20


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