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Ambitious US$5 Billion project will dethrone the Panama Canal and become the largest trade channel between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans

4 May 2024 to 15: 49
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Panama, Panama Canal, Mexico
Photo: adapted reproduction portosenavios / googleimages

An in-depth look at Mexico's new venture and its potential impact on international trade in the Panama Canal

For more than a century, the Panama Canal has been a key player in global trade, facilitating the movement of products between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. However, Mexico is moving to launch a new venture, the Tehuantepec Isthmus Interoceanic Corridor, which could challenge this supremacy. Over 1000 km long, this mega project is already under construction and progressing quickly. But what exactly does this project involve and does it have the potential to rival the Panama Canal?

The construction of the Panama Canal was a monumental undertaking, begun by the United States in 1902 and completed in 1914 and since then, the canal has become a vital route for world trade, with more than 10.000 ships using it annually. However, in 2024, it may face new competition from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec Interoceanic Corridor. This project is not new, having been designed by Porfírio Díaz, president of Mexico, at the end of the XNUMXth century.

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The revitalization of the line that could become serious competition for the Panama Canal

The current president of Mexico, López Obrador, in 2018, launched a plan to revitalize this old railway, transforming it into the Tehuantepec Isthmus Interoceanic Corridor. With three lines main railways already completed or in the final phase of construction, this project aims to establish a new transport route between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Photo: PE sheet reproduction

The first line, Line Z, was completed in August 2023, proving to be a faster option than crossing the Panama Canal. With the completion of the other two lines by the end of 2024, the corridor will be ready to operate, offering a new transport option for maritime companies.

And what does the Panama Canal look like with this Mexican construction?

The Isthmus of Tehuantepec Interoceanic Corridor does not seek to replace the Panama Canal, but rather complement it. With increasing demand for maritime transport and challenges facing the Panama Canal, such as water shortages in 2023, the Mexico corridor could offer a additional route, relieving the channel in periods of high demand.

However, the Mexican project faces its own challenges, such as resistance and protests of indigenous communities concerned about the environmental impact. Furthermore, future competition from other projects, such as the canal in Nicaragua and the Northwest Passage, could affect its long-term relevance.

The Isthmus of Tehuantepec Interoceanic Corridor represents a new chapter in international trade, offering an alternative to the Panama Canal and further connecting the world. The future of trade between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans is on the cusp of significant change, and Mexico is at the forefront of these transformations.

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