It was the product of almost 15 years of military, diplomatic, and economic maneuvers.
Now, 99 years later, the canal is set to cause a surge in U.S. exports across the commodities sector.
A $5.25 billion expansion is set to wind down in 2015. In its current form, the canal can handle vessels that can carry up to 5,000 TEUs, or 20-foot equivalents ? basically, the size of a shipping container. Once the expansion is completed, the canal will be able to handle "Post-Panamax vessels," which can carry up to 13,000 TEUs.
For reference, according to the FT, carrying a 10,000-size load would require 18 trains, 5,800 trucks or 570 planes.