I recently had the opportunity to take a cruise through the Panama Canal. I observed hundreds of trucks hauling rock and soil in the construction of the new canal locks. The new locks will open in 2014. They will be capable of passing new “Panamax” ships that can carry 13,000 20-foot containers, compared with the existing ships that can carry only 5,000 20-foot containers.
The unfortunate closure of the Kimberly-Clark mill on Everett’s waterfront could offer Everett the rare opportunity to become a “Panamax” container port. According to About.com, five ports carry 70 percent of U.S. ship imports: Los Angeles/Long Beach, New York/New Jersey, Seattle/Tacoma, Savannah and Oakland. All of these, and the port of Charleston, either already can or will be able to receive the new Panamax ships by 2014.
The proposed sports arena in Seattle could put Seattle out of the running for an enlarged port facility and Everett is some 70 miles closer to the Pacific Ocean than Tacoma. A new “Panamax” ship facility at the Kimberly-Clark site could make Everett the major container port on the West Coast and could provide jobs and untold growth to the Everett area.
Jack E. Sceva