Panama Canal Project Bodes Well for Port Properties

image showing NJ 801 West Linden AveWith ports along the Gulf of Mexico and the Eastern seaboard ready to embrace an expanded Panama Canal, Duke Realty is among the REITs with warehouse space in key locations. The Panama Canal expansion, scheduled for an early 2016 completion, will enable passage of much larger cargo vessels and increase container traffic by 5 to 15 percent, bolstering the need for warehouse and distribution space.

Though the Panama Canal project will bring greater opportunity to the area, it’s a move whose full value won’t be apparent for some time. Commercial Property Executive fixes a wary eye on the project’s economic impact, positing that the scope of the project may take some years to legitimize the port development happening in a hurry. Quoted in the article, Duke Realty Senior Executive Vice President and COO Jim Connor supports the notion: “We believe it’s going to be a full 10 years before we see the full impact.”

As Anthony Graziano, senior managing director for Integra Resources, says in the article, a focus on the short run is bad policy: “They didn’t build the Panama Canal for tomorrow; they built the Panama Canal for the next hundred years. It’s a long play.”

Part of the project’s impact may be to shift some shipping from West-coast ports to those on the Eastern seaboard. Supporting this prediction is a 9.2% uptick in shipping to the East coast already in 2014, which outpaces the 5.5% increase on West coast.

Duke Realty projects that could benefit from the expansion include Legacy Commerce Center in New Jersey. Duke Realty also is developing the largest project in the affected ports—a 1+ million square foot warehouse in Chesapeake Commerce Center in Baltimore.

Find out more about the overall Panama Canal project and about Duke Realty’s related construction in the full article at