The Panama Canal is a man-made waterway that connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean. Located in the country of Panama in Central America, the canal cuts through the Isthmus of Panama and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. It was completed in 1914 by the United States and is one of the two most strategic artificial waterways in the world, the other being the Suez Canal in Egypt. The Panama Canal greatly reduces the time for ships to travel between the two oceans, eliminating the need to make the lengthy and hazardous journey around the tip of South America via the Drake Passage or Cape Horn.
Constructed with locks and artificial lakes, the canal lifts ships up to Gatun Lake, an artificial lake created to reduce the amount of excavation work required for the canal, then lowers them back down to sea level on the other side. The original locks are 110 feet wide. However, due to the increased demand and size of modern ships, a new set of locks, known as the Panama Canal Expansion, was opened in 2016, allowing for the transit of larger vessels, known as Neo-Panamax ships.
The Panama Canal is not only a vital shipping route that affects the prices and supply of energy commodities, goods, and many other trade items but is also a remarkable feat of engineering. It has significant economic and military strategic importance and generates substantial revenue for the Republic of Panama.
For further information about the Panama Canal, please refer to the following resources:
1. Panama Canal Authority (Autoridad del Canal de Panamá): This is the official site providing detailed information about the canal’s history, functioning, statistics, tolls, and the expansion project.
2. History.com – A comprehensive historical reference provided by the History Channel, offering a concise yet detailed overview of the Panama Canal’s history, its construction, challenges, and significance in global trade.
This A.I.-generated glossary is intended to provide a convenient means to understand terminology used on this website in the context of physical commodities trading. Some terms may have alternative and/or expanded definitions that may not be relevant here and thus not included. Sources provided are for reference and not intended to be an endorsement of the broader content on that website. Suggestions, questions, or corrections can be provided in the comment box on definition pages.