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Maersk dumps Panama Canal for Suez

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Maersk Line, the world’s biggest container shipping company, will stop transiting the Panama Canal to move goods from Asia to the U.S. East Coast in favor of the Suez Canal, according to a story by Bloomberg.

New, larger ships mean it can move just as much cargo with one vessel through the Suez Canal as it takes on two vessels through the Panama Canal, said Soeren Skou, chief executive officer of the Holland-based Maersk Line. 

The last sailing through Panama will be on April 7 and the first service through Suez will be a week later, the company told Bloomberg.

“The economics are much, much better via the Suez Canal simply because you have half the number of ships,” Bloomberg reported Skou as saying. “One of the reasons for why this is happening now is that the cost for passing through the Panama Canal has gone up. At the end of the day, it comes down to cost.”

Fees for ships to go through the Panama Canal have tripled in the past five years, Skou said.

A $5.25 billion expansion of the Panama Canal is now expected to open by June 2015. 

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