The changes are two-fold, but the widening of the Panama Canal is the biggest of them. When completed in 2015, the new canal will allow bigger ships to slash their journey time from ports in Asia to the east coast of the US, and allow vessels bound for Western Europe to avoid a time-consuming journey through the geopolitically problematic Suez Canal.
Ports that want to compete in this new environment have to adapt. First they must dredge, to allow bigger ships to dock. Shipping companies have already been loading up on these ships and even larger “post-Panamax” cargo ships and tankers that will be too large for even the expanded Panama Canal.