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Experts Gather In Houston To Analyze Prospects Of Maritime Transportation

They agree the upcoming expansion of the Panama Canal in 2016 could bring even more activity to the Port of Houston.

 

Manuel Benitez, Deputy Administrator of the Panama Canal Authority, was the keynote speaker at the conference and talked about the potential benefits of the expansion for Houston and other United States ports.
Manuel Benitez, Deputy Administrator of the Panama Canal Authority, was the keynote speaker at the conference and talked about the potential benefits of the expansion for Houston and other United States ports. (Photo: Al Ortiz)

Houston held its first container trade outlook conference this week and the expansion of the Panama Canal – which will allow bigger ships to pass through it – was one of the main topics discussed at the event.

Manuel Benitez is the Deputy Administrator of the Panama Canal Authority and was the keynote speaker at the conference.

He explained the much anticipated expansion of the canal is set to be completed in April of 2016.

Benitez said the ports located east of the canal – such as Houston – stand to gain 10 percent additional share of container traffic from East Asia to the United States.

And some of it could be traffic that now goes to ports in the West Coast.

“There’s gonna be a shift with the expanded Panama Canal to the East Coast and to the Gulf region ports. I think Houston is very well positioned,” noted Benitez during his presentation.

That means those ports will have a better chance to compete for cargo that is heading to the Midwest.

Roger Guenther, Executive Director of the Port of Houston Authority, says the opportunities deriving from the expansion “are gonna be rapid and we look forward for this expansion to finally occur so we can rip the benefits of that for our region.”

The economic and labor conditions of the maritime sector were also a topic of discussion in the conference.

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Alvaro ‘Al’ Ortiz

Digital News Producer

Alvaro ‘Al’ Ortiz is originally from Madrid (Spain). He worked for several years in his home country and gained experience in all platforms of journalism, from wire services to print, as well as broadcast and digital reporting. In 2001, Al came to the United States to pursue a Master’s degree...

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