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Ray LaHood

Don't miss the boat on shipping

Don't miss the boat on shipping

When the Panama Canal opened 102 years ago, it was one of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken. The result revolutionized the global shipping industry by saving cargo ships from the precarious 5,000-mile trip around South America, reshaping both international and domestic shipping and trade patterns. When the newly widened Panama Canal reopens later this year, the result will again be transformative. But with this massive opportunity comes massive challenges.

In order for the new "Post-Panamax" ships to call at existing seaports, the harbors must have a depth of at least 50 feet. While American West Coast ports can largely handle the bigger...