2015 Research Conference - Luncheon Session : The Panama Canal Expansion: Myths and Realities for the North American Economy


Keynote Speaker(s)

Jean-Paul Rodrigue, Department of Global Studies and Geography, Hofstra University

About the Presentation

Large infrastructure projects are prone to misconceptions—particularly, their benefits, which tend to be exaggerated, and their costs, which tend to be under-evaluated. The Panama Canal expansion is no exception. In early 2016, the estimated $6.2 billion dollar project will add a new set of locks that will enable the existing canal to handle larger ships. Such an increase in capacity has triggered many expectations about its potential impacts on global trade, in particular for ports on the American East Coast. The common belief is that the expansion will bring additional traffic and economic opportunities for the markets it services. The question, however, remains: what can be considered unfounded myths, as opposed to the realities of the impacts of the project?

Jean-Paul Rodrigue addressed these issues in the conference luncheon presentation on May 20. Rodrigue, a professor in Hofstra University’s Department of Global Studies and Geography, focused on the impact to the structure of North American trade and economic development prospects.


About the Speaker

Jean-Paul Rodrigue is a professor in the Department of Global Studies and Geography at Hofstra University. Rodrigue's research interests mainly cover the fields of transportation and economics as they relate to logistics and global freight distribution. Specific topics on which he has published extensively include maritime transport systems and logistics, global supply chains, gateways, and transport corridors. He has authored 5 books, 25 book chapters, more than 40 peer-reviewed papers and numerous reports, and he has delivered more than 135 conferences and seminar presentations, mostly at the international level. His paper about the regionalization of ports became the world’s most cited paper in maritime transport.

Rodrigue is also on the international editorial board of the Journal of Transport Geography and the Cahiers Scientifiques du Transport. He is a lead member of the PortEconomics.eu initiative regrouping the world’s leading maritime transport academics and performs advisory and consulting assignments for international organizations and corporations. Dr. Rodrigue is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Council on the Future of Manufacturing and a board member of the Canadian Transportation Research Forum as well as of the International Association of Maritime Economists. In 2013, the US Secretary of Transportation appointed Dr. Rodrigue to sit on the Advisory Board of the US Merchant Marine Academy.