The Panama Canal began operations after many years of planning in 1914 and has evolved to be an important link in international trade. Early commodities and routes included wheat from the West Coast of the Americas to North Africa and Europe. Grains and oilseeds have always been important, but in the late 1960s container ships emerged and became very important for the Panama Canal. The Panama Canal not only has an important impact on trade by lowering costs and distance, but also has impacted the development of much of the world logistical system. The Panama Canal recently completed its expansion. This was under evaluation for many years and opened in June 2016, in response to multiple pressures. The Panama Canal confronts numerous forms of competition. These include all the elements of spatial competition, including interport and interroute competition.
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