Since it was inaugurated in 1914, the Panama Canal has become an essential shipping route in international logistics. Countries on the Eastern coast of the American continent save thousands of miles on their routes to Asia and the countries on the Western coast the same on their routes to Europe. The routes between both coasts on the same continent are equally important.
But in the nineties, the growth in world trade began to require the use of larger vessels to take advantage of the economies of scale. That was when the first post Panamax vessels appeared, so called because their size prevented them from crossing the Panama Canal.
With the widening of the Panama Canal approved by referendum in 2006, the Panamanians will be able to see how the post Panamax vessels will begin using routes which do cross the Canal, predictably from 2015, and so it will maintain its key situation in world shipping traffic and its outstanding role in international logistics.