Randy Forbes part of new Congressional Panama Canal Expansion Caucus

randy forbesCongressman Randy Forbes (R-VA), Congressman Rick Crawford (R-AK), Congressman Nick Rahall (D-W.Va), and Congresswoman Janice Hahn (D-CA) announced today the formation of the bipartisan Congressional Panama Canal Expansion Caucus, with the goal of assessing the impact that the expansion, which represents one of the largest construction projects in the world, will have on U.S. ports and inland infrastructure.

Since opening in 1914, the Panama Canal has served as a strategic link for global maritime trade, accommodating approximately five percent of the world’s total cargo volume each year and serving over 140 maritime trade routes to over 80 countries. The Canal’s cargo capacity is scheduled to double as construction to expand the Canal is completed at the end of 2015, enabling a larger class of “post-Panamax” ships to pass through the waterway.  The expansion represents a potential shift in global commerce as international trade flows, and will increase demands on transportation networks, service and operations as well. 

“One of the largest civil engineering projects in the world, the expansion of the Panama Canal presents an important opportunity for American trade and the American economy.” Congressman Forbes said.  “I am pleased to join my colleagues from both sides of the aisle in forming the Congressional Panama Canal Expansion Caucus and look forward to working with representatives from private industry, local officials, and small business owners to ensure our transportation, infrastructure, and logistics networks are prepared to reap the benefits of this expansion.”

“The expansion of the Panama Canal is going to have a significant impact on global commerce and trade.  I am looking forward to working with my colleagues on the caucus to highlight the opportunities that this expansion presents to America’s ag-producers, manufacturers, and maritime industry.  I am eager to begin working with Mr. Forbes, Mr. Rahall, and Ms. Hahn to underscore the opportunities and challenges that our nation faces with the canal expansion in order to remain a global leader in commerce and transportation,” said Congressman Crawford

“The health of our economy depends on our nation maintaining strong transportation links to move our commodities, like coal and grain, to harbors through the Panama Canal and ultimately to businesses across the globe.  An expanded Panama Canal will allow us to maintain these vital links and encourage the continued growth of our economy. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure our nation is poised to take advantage of this tremendous opportunity,” saidCongressman Rahall.

“As Chair of the Congressional Ports Caucus, I believe the expansion of the Panama Canal highlights the important role of ports to increase trade, create jobs, and strengthen our economy,” Congresswoman Hahn said. “This caucus will not only present an unique platform for Members to discuss the impact the expansion will have on U.S. businesses, but will also highlight what actions Congress needs to take to ensure we are fully taking advantage of this opportunity.  Most importantly, this includes development of a national freight plan so that current and future trade corridors receive the attention and investment they need to keep us globally competitive as a nation.  I am looking forward to joining this bipartisan caucus to help ensure our nation’s ports are prepared for the new era of commerce that the Panama Canal expansion will usher in.”

The Congressional Panama Canal Expansion Caucus will provide an opportunity for Members of Congress to examine the way the United States’ ports, transportation systems, and infrastructure networks are preparing for increased traffic, as well as the economic impacts that will result from the expansion. 

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