Channel, harbor, port, and lock-and-dam improvements are expected as a result of the recently signed Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA). These structural upgrades are a critical step in enabling U.S. soybean farmers to take full advantage of an expansion to the Panama Canal, expected to be complete next year.
Larger ships will be able to use the expanded canal, hauling an additional $6 million to $7 million worth of U.S. soy per shipment and boosting U.S. soybean farmers’ profit potential in the process. With WRRDA and Panama Canal updates, U.S. farmers could see agricultural exports reach an all-time high of $149 billion (from $135.8 billion in 2012), once the canal reopens in late 2015. Using the newly available WRRDA funds, improvements are expected to begin this year, and will be ongoing now that WRRDA has been signed.