In the meantime, shippers are looking to deeper ports beyond the US; to Freeport in the Bahamas and Kingston in Jamaica.
“Unless we can get more channel capacity, they are going to be the primary beneficiaries of an expanded canal,” Sanford said.
Ultimately, that may cost US consumers.
“If you can’t take advantage of the economies of scale that the larger vessels offer,” said Paul Bingham, an economist with Wilbur Smith Associates, “the bottom line is it’s going to cost you more. For the economy that ultimately means that the consumers are going to be worse off.”