The expansion is scheduled to be completed in about 20 months. Eastern rails (CSX, NSC) will see much more new business from this expansion. Bigger ships will pass through the canal, bypassing the West Coast and picking up and delivering their goods directly to the East Coast. The Eastern rails will haul these goods and they are currently investing large amounts of capital in preparation for the completion of the expansion. They will hit the ground running. Long term shareholders need only to exercise patience.
In early 2015, an additional new lane will open for larger ships that will accommodate ships that are 250% larger than the maximum sized ship that can cross using today's Panama Canal. These new ships will be able to carry 12,500 containers whereas the current Canal can only accept ships carrying 5,000 containers. Assuming 12,500 containers were on a train that train would be over 20 miles long.
When the project is completed in 2015, ports on the East Coast and Gulf Coast will be able to compete for business that until now has been dominated by West Coast ports. Experts at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) call the Panama Canal expansion a likely “game changer” for U.S. trade, potentially redistributing the market share of each coast’s ports, as well as opening up new import and export markets for agricultural and other products along inland waterways.
" Assuming 12,500 containers were on a train that train would be over 20 miles long."
I'm not a railroad man, but I can't even imagine a train 20 miles long. I'm sure that figure is just being used to show how much cargo one of the new panamex ships can carry. I used to be in awe of the long coal carrying trains.
This thread mentions a lot about new business arriving for railroads on the east. But perhaps there is even a brighter spot, those same panamex ships will also leave the east coast, fully loaded with exports. And those exports my even pick the coal industry back up. And those exports will be transported to the coast by eastern railroads.
I really believe that the economics of the eastern railroads is about to grow dramatically when the canal is completed.
Maryland’s Port of Baltimore has a deep harbor, but its old railroad tunnel exiting the port terminals is not tall enough for today’s double-stacked trains to pass through.16 As a solution, the major railroad company CSX is planning to build a new intermodal rail transfer facility that will facilitate moving double-stacked trains away from the port.17 The Port of Miami, in Florida, has starting boring twin tunnels that would allow big-rig trucks entering or leaving the port to bypass downtown Miami streets, at a cost of $607 million.
Ports have also partnered with railroad companies to build new rail corridors to move containers inland more quickly from EC/GC ports. As one example, the railroad company Norfolk Southern has built the Heartland Corridor, which makes more rail tracks available, allows the loading of double-stacked containers on its trains, and increases freight rail capacity between Virginian ports and the Midwest.19 Norfolk Southern had to blast through more than two dozen Appalachian Mountain passes in West Virginia, Virginia, and Kentucky so these double-stacked trains could pass through with a higher vertical clearance.