Trade between Asia and the Gulf Coast is expected to surge following the completion of a seven-year, $5 billion widening of the canal. The new memorandum of understanding extends a 2003 partnership in support of that trade for another five years.
A delegation of Greater Houston business and political leaders accompanied Edmonds to Panama for the signing, including Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan. Ryan served on the board of the Panama Canal Commission under President Clinton and oversaw the transfer of control of the waterway from the U.S. to Panama.
“Houston’s motto once was, ‘Where Seventeen Railroads Meet the Sea,’ and we are perfectly postured to be the biggest beneficiary to transfer cargo that can now go through the canal on huge new container ships to what I call the Great Middle of America between the Rocky Mountains and the Appalachians.”
ACP Administrator/CEO Alberto Aleman Zubieta and Port Commission Chairman James T. Edmonds shake hands after signing the memorandum of understanding, which renews the partnership between the Panama Canal Authority and the Port of Houston Authority. Image from the Port of Houston Authority.
The expansion is due to be completed in 2014, just in time for the centennial of the canal’s opening and of the Port of Houston Authority.