The New Suez Canal

With 90 percent of the world’s trade moving by sea, the expanded Suez Canal will be a game changer.

 

Quick Facts:

  • $8 billion, 44.7 mile extension to the Suez Canal will for the first time allow two-way traffic on the canal
  • The new channel allows for a reduction in transit times from 18 to 11 hours
  • Provides increased capacity for vessels with drafts over 45 feet (prior to the opening of the new channel, only eight vessels with drafts greater than 45 feet could be accommodated on the canal at any one time)
  • The extension to the canal has seen 72 kilometers (44.7 miles) of new canal created, parallel to the current channel. The projected included 35 kilometers (21.7 miles)of dry digging and 37 kilometers (23 miles) of deepening
  • The average size of ships on the Far East-U.S. East Coast route via the Suez Canal has increased by 73 percent since 2005 to 7,800 twenty-foot-equivalent units, while vessels on the same trade via the Panama Canal have grown by only 12 percent in capacity to 4,600 TEUs due to size restrictions.

 

What Does This Mean for the East Coast and Florida?

The Suez Canal has benefited from delays to the Panama Canal expansion as a number of carriers with larger ships in excess of 8,000 TEU ships, have taken advantage of the larger capacities the Suez Canal and have switched to this route. For a brief period during the U.S. West Coast ports disruption, the ratio of Asia-U.S. East Coast through the Suez surpassed those via the Panama Canal.  That ratio is now slightly back in Panama’s favor as carriers are preparing for the opening of an expanded Panama Canal.

The Asia-U.S. East Coast route is undergoing a period of dramatic changes based on strong eastbound demand, Beneficial Cargo Owners (BCOs) lack of confidence in West Coast ports, a changed shipping alliance structure and new services have helped boost the Suez route.  Drewry, a specialist research and advisory organization for the maritime sector, estimates that extent of cargo shift from the west to east coasts was at 375,000 TEUs between January and June and shows no sign of reducing. U.S. east coast ports have proven to be able to absorb this additional volume with minor disruptions.

The expanded Suez Canal and look forward to continuing to increase its service to the U.S. East coast market, but the degree to which it will increase service will depend on macro events such as how competitive it will remain against an open and expanded Panama Canal in April, Chinese export growth and South East Asian export growth to name a few.

 

A Tale of Two Canals

The opening of these two expanded Canals within a year of each other will deepen the rivalry between the two, particularly for services connecting Asia with the U.S. East Coast, which is now intensified in light of West Coast – East Coast cargo shift.  This is the route where the two canals are in in direct competition with each other.

The new expanded Panama locks, which are due to open in April 2016, will further the rivalry as trade may shift back in favor of an expanded Panama Canal.  The Panama Canal’s decision to temporarily reduce its draft from September 8 due to the draught caused by El Nino is not expected to have any significant impact on Far East-U.S. East Coast services, as it will affect less than 20 percent of the transits.

The average size of ships on the Far East-U.S. East Coast route via the Suez Canal has increased by 73 percent since 2005 to 7,800 twenty-foot-equivalent units, while vessels on the same trade via the Panama Canal have only increased by 12 percent in capacity to 4,600 TEUs due to size restrictions.

The opening of the new Panama locks will allow carriers to transit larger ships through the Panama Canal which will position it to recapture some market share lost the Suez Canal since 2008.

The Panama Canal’s share of the Far East-U.S. East Coast trade has decreased from approximately 90 percent before 2008 to a low of 48 percent in 2014 before recovering to 51 percent currently as a result of the recent launch of five new shipping services.

The Panama Canal’s share is expected to increase to over 70 percent by the end of 2016 as most of the Suez market share from China will likely return to the shorter Panama Canal route.  Trade from South East Asia is expected to preserve the Suez Canal route as that is the shorter route to the U.S. East Coast.

 

What Does This Mean for Florida?

The West Coast-East Coast cargo shift occurred earlier than anticipated due to the west coast port disruptions and delays in the opening of an expanded Panama Canal. The Suez Canal has grown in importance to the U.S. East Coast as manufacturing shifts from China to South East Asia have boosted trade to the U.S. via this shorter route.  Florida ports have captured some of this shift but opportunities remain to capture more.  An expanded Panama Canal will rebalance Asian trade bound for the East Coast in its favor.  Florida will have the first U.S. port of entry at 50 ft depth to receive the larger ships by the time the Panama Canal opens.  Our ability to capture this trade and demonstrate the strength of our connectivity due to our intermodal investments to increase capacity and connectivity to the larger U.S. market will be crucial to this effort.

Florida ports have experienced cargo growth since the West Coast Ports shut down, as shown in the below news articles:

The above are just a few recent headlines. In order for Florida to continue to remain competitive, continued investment in ports, transportation and logistical infrastructure is key for Florida to remain competitive.

 

THERE ARE SEVERAL WAYS TO GET INVOLVED:

  1. Join our legislative “Fly-In” in Washington, D.C. on September 9-10 and lend your voice to our advocacy efforts at the Federal level for these strategic investments in Florida’s future.
  2.  Register today and share your voice with Florida’s transportation infrastructure leaders at the Florida Chamber’s Transportation Summit in December.
  3. Download and share the Florida Chamber Foundation’s most recent Trade and Logistics study.

Africa’s Economy is on the Rise

Seven of the world’s ten fastest growing economies are in Africa. North Africa expects a four to seven percent GDP growth by 2020, while Sub-Saharan Africa expects a six to seven percent growth. Experts project a population boom so large that by 2100, 40 percent of the world’s population will be African. The middle class is expected to triple from 150 million people in 2010 to 490 million in 2040. Africa’s workforce is projected to be 1 billion by 2040, the largest in the world.  Nigeria overtook South Africa as the continent’s biggest economy last year, but South Africa remains the region’s richest, while Morocco is positioning itself to be the business “gateway” for the continent.

While Africa has great potential for growth with increased urbanization and rising incomes, challenges still arise for this emerging nation.

Automobiles:

Africa currently has some of the lowest rates of car ownership – Kenya has just 9 cars for every 1,000 people, Nigeria has 13, Cote d’Ivoire 16, Zimbabwe 45, and South Africa 103.

However, recent investment by automakers shows confidence in the market.

  • VOLKSWAGEN AG resumed assembling vehicles in Nigeria for the first time in 25 years in a bid to foster sales growth in Africa.
  • Peugeot Citroen plans to build assembly plant in Morocco.

Clothing Manufacturing:

Africa is also now seen as the final frontier in global clothing manufacturing.  Low cost labor is one factor but more importantly, African countries can grow their own cotton, which shortens production time- you can go from field to factory all in one place. Ethiopia was recently identified as a top sourcing destination by apparel companies, according to McKinsey & Co.—the first time an African country was mentioned alongside dominant Asian players.  Several clothing giants are starting to source in Africa with more in the works. While it will be many years before Africa can challenge China and other Southeast Asian leaders in this industry, Africa’s prospects look promising.

Ports:

Maersk, owner of world’s largest container liner in Nigerian and Kenyan ports, also has a hand in Africa’s expansion.  Maersk expects a 10 percent growth East African region this year, supported by strong economic growth, increased political stability, a growing middle class and improved efficiency at major ports as Kenya and Tanzania have been increasing investment in their harbors.

Kenya’s economy is expected to grow by 6.9 percent this year and Tanzania’s 7.2 percent, according to the International Monetary Fund.

This growth does not come without its challenges. Growing economies and consumer demands drive the need for port expansion yet, African ports are finding themselves without the land necessary to make such expansion possible.  Increased urbanization has limited the land available around ports, which are now using dredged material and reclaiming land to expand container terminal capacity. This expensive solution highlights the need for Africa to maximize its port and landside capacity to be able to keep up with demand and help support growing trade.

Other challenges still hamper Africa’s potential. Many African countries lack transportation infrastructure to truly leverage these and other opportunities. Workforce is also a challenge. Education and training gaps exists as Africa’s growing economy is not readily adjusting and matching education to jobs and industry needs. Programs to identify these gaps are in development, but are still too few to match growth needs.

Lack of electricity is also a barrier to growth. Weak power grids and unreliable and inconsistent electricity is stunting industries at crucial times, with power outages often stopping production for hours. Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy last year, is so challenged by its inability to produce enough power that the country mostly runs on private generators.

Power shortages present an opportunity for investment for many countries and private companies, but it may be many years before these investment will yield results.

Global Markets Create New Opportunities for Florida’s Economy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Edie Ousley, 850-521-1231 or 850-251-6261
eousley@flchamber.com

Trade with Asia Pacific, Middle East/Africa
Accounts for 19 Percent of Florida-Origin Exports

TALLAHASSEE, FL. (May 20, 2015) – Emerging markets in Asia-Pacific and Middle East/Africa provide Florida with incredible opportunity, with 19 percent of Florida origin exports shipped to these regions, the Florida Chamber of Commerce announced today.

“Florida is the gateway to international trade and our state is in a position where we can really take advantage of strong international relationships,” said John Walsh, CEO and Port Director of Canaveral Port Authority. “Emerging economies such as those in Asia, the Middle East and Africa really provide a unique opportunity for Florida to lead the nation in trade and logistics, manufacturing and more. At Port Canaveral, our ability to use highway, rail and air resources for distribution and logistics helps keep Florida a leader in international trade and logistics efforts.”

It’s these resources that allow Florida to take advantage of the opportunities emerging markets represent. Middle Eastern and North African economies (known as the MENA region) are one of the largest emerging market economic blocs. In fact, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts that it will be the third fastest-growing region in the world over the next five years. The MENA region has one of the youngest populations in the world, helping to create a vibrant and energetic start-up culture. In Africa, this younger generation is also better educated and ready to meet the demands of global business.

The Middle East will be one of the world’s fastest growing aviation markets during the next 20 years with an extra 237 million passengers flying to, from and within the region. A report from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts the UAE aviation market will lead the region with average annual growth of 5.6 percent.

The impact of international trade to Florida’s economy cannot be denied.

  • International business and foreign direct investment accounts for approximately 17 percent of Florida’s economic activity, and
  • Directly supports more than 1 million Florida jobs.
  • Florida is the seventh largest exporter of state-origin products with Florida-origin exports totaling more than $58.6 billion and exports from Florida supporting 275,221 U.S. jobs in 2013.

“Florida is in a unique position to take advantage of growing global economies,” said Alice Ancona, Director of Global Outreach for the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “Japan is one of Florida’s leading investors. Hong Kong alone represents $2.4 billion in Florida origin exports, with more than $653 million in high tech exports. Florida has a once in a lifetime opportunity to capitalize on the Panama Canal expansion and changing trade become the global hub for international trade.”

The Florida Chamber’s Global Florida Program’s mission is to educate and promote business opportunities, collaborate and advance policy initiatives in each of the four major geographic regions:  Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and Middle East/Africa. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam recently sponsored the Florida World Trade Month resolution, which was signed by Governor Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi and CFO Jeff Atwater.

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The Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations, aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.

Did You Know Florida is the 7th Largest Exporter of State-Origin Products?

The impact Florida’s international relationships have on our economy cannot be denied. As the seventh largest exporter of state-origin products, Florida-origin exports total more than $58.6 billion and exports from Florida supported 275,221 U.S. jobs in 2013.

“Florida has come a long way in building international economic development efforts, but our work is far from over,” said Doug Davidson, Market Executive of Global Commercial Banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “At Bank of America, we support the Florida Chamber Foundation’s research in trade and logistics because we know that Florida’s future lies in being globally competitive.”

International business and foreign direct investment account for approximately 17 percent of Florida’s economic activity, and directly support more than 1 million Florida jobs. But as our economy grows, Florida must also continue to diversify export destinations- one of the strategies recommended in the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Florida Trade and Logistics Study 2.0.

From the Americas and beyond, Florida is quickly becoming the hub for global trade, especially in emerging markets such as Africa, Latin America and the Middle East- where growth projections remain higher than in developed markets and where purchasing power continues to increase.

The U.S. currently has five free trade agreements in the Middle East region. U.S. free trade agreements have helped expand Florida’s export opportunities. In fact, more than one-third of Florida exports go to countries that have trade agreements with the United States.

When oil exports are excluded, Florida is the number one exporter to Central and South America, with Florida exporting more than $30 billion in goods to that region in 2014.

While Florida’s top trade partners are Brazil and Canada, many emerging countries from several regions make Florida’s top 10 importers list, such as Peru (the site of a recent Enterprise Florida economic development mission trip that was attended by Alice Ancona, Director of Global Outreach for the Florida Chamber of Commerce), United Arab Emirates and Germany.

DYK_Chart_Exporters

As global trade and economic activity expand over the coming decades, international commerce will continue to play a role as an essential driver of Florida’s future. Diversifying Florida’s export destinations is a strategic step in accomplishing this and is outlined in the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Florida Trade and Logistics Study 2.0.

Florida can create a stronger global economy and jobs for future generations through increased investment in ports and infrastructure projects and expanded export manufacturing and value-added services.

The Florida Chamber is committed to connecting Florida’s business community to global opportunities and leveraging resources and investments to maintain and expand Florida’s position as an international trade leader. The International Business Council is launching a new program to support Florida businesses as they explore opportunities to diversify into new export markets. GLOBAL FLORIDA will focus on connecting them to resources, policy initiatives and business intelligence on market trends for four of the major geographic regions of the world: Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and Middle East/Africa.

Together we can help Florida become the number one hub for global trade. Join the state’s international business community at the Florida Chamber’s International Days – a two-day event where the top international trade and industry experts will convene to discuss topics such as export diversification.

 

Share Your Story:

Can’t make International Days? Tell us your story and why international relationships matter to Florida by contacting Alice Ancona at aancona@flchamber.com.

About the Florida Scorecard:

The Florida Scorecard, located at www.TheFloridaScorecard.com, presents metrics across Florida’s economy. Each month, the Florida Chamber Foundation produces a Scorecard Stat that takes an in-depth look at one aspect of Florida’s economy. If you would like additional information on the Weekly Scorecard Stat or on the Florida Scorecard, please contact Dr. Jerry Parrish with the Florida Chamber Foundation at 850.521.1283.