December 2011 photo of construction of the new locks of the Panama Canal, in Cocoli, Panama. (Juan Jose RODRIGUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
The addition of a third, much-wider lane to the Panama Canal will dramatically alter global shipping. Able to accommodate ships almost three times larger, the $5.3 billion expansion opens in 2015. A wider route will lead to increased shipping through the Gulf of Mexico and facilitate the transfer of coal, oil, and natural gas from Central and South America to energy-hungry Asia.
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