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Panama: Canal Zone (Courtesy http://MondeDiplo.com/maps/panamadpl1999)

Although the all Panamanian 'Panama Control Authority' has done well in managing the 13,000 ships that pass through its waters and the canal earned $1 billion dollars in revenues in 2004 (BBC 2005a), there is still a need to upgrade and or widen the canal (which cannot handle ships larger than the Panamax class, 294.1 meters in length and 32.1 meters wide, with 40% of cargo ships now larger than this) and its port facilities (Lemoine 1999; NotiCen 2001a). This would cost something in the order of $4 billion dollars (NotiCen 2001a), with later estimates running as high as $6-8 billion. Through December 2004: -

Panama's government is considering an $8 billion expansion of the 90- year-old Panama Canal to allow bigger ships to cross to and from the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Possible upgrades include adding a third "lane" to make way for a new generation of mammoth, post-Panamax ships spanning 180-feet across that can haul twice as much as the current Panamax ships. Panamax is the term for the largest-sized ships that can now pass through the Panama Canal. The canal now has two "lanes"--one for ships moving from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and the second for traffic in the opposite direction. (Carlson 2004)

Panama has tried to diversify its economy in a number of ways including boosting tourism, developing types of eco-, rainforest and marine tourism, plus maintaining a primary exports sector including bananas and hard wood timbres. Beyond this, it

Lecture 12

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