Now that the $5.2 billion expansion of the Panama Canal is complete, West Memphis leaders are hopeful that the city’s reputation as a key logistics hub will soon expand exponentially. The first ship off the Atlantic passed through the expanded locks from the Carribean to the Pacific Sunday after a massive nine-year project.
The promise of the new and improved waterway – which can now accommodate ships big enough to hold 14,000 ocean-going containers – is essential to the city’s economic development strategy. That promise has prompted three years of participation in the Critical Commodities conference in New Orleans, appeals to Wal-Mart and the cultivation of relationships with business leaders from Shenzen and other parts of China – among other efforts.
On Sunday, June 26, The Commercial Appeal published a fascinating column by business editor Ted Evanoff looking at the potential impact of the canal on West Memphis. Read it here.