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traffic or tonnage of shipping making use of the waterway. In the latter part of 1911 and in the early months of 1912, a detailed investigation was made of entrance and clearance statistics kept by the United States and other countries for the purpose of ascertaining how much shipping would have passed through a Panama Canal had one been in existence during the year 1909– 1910, the latest year for which complete information was obtainable. The following table summarizes the results of an elaborate statistical investigation:


CANAL IN 1909-1910

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Europe with

Western South America....
Western Central America and Pacific

Pacific United States, British Columbia

and Hawaii...
Pacific United States via Suez Canal.
Oriental countries east of Singapore, and

Eastern United States Coast with
Western South America, Pacific Mexico

and Hawaii...
Pacific Coast of United States (via Cape

Horn)2 ...
Pacific Coast of United States and Hawaii

(via American-Hawaiian S. S. Co.).. Oriental countries east of Singapore, and

Panama traffic.
Eastern Canada with Alaska, Chile and


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Figures furnished by the Suez Canal Co. It is not possible to divide the total into entrances and clearances.

: Not including Hawaii.

The figures presented in Table VII show that about 101 per cent of the total tonnage of shipping that would have used a Panama Canal in 1909–1910 would have consisted of vessels serving the trade between the two seaboards of the United States, i.e., vessels which carried traffic via Cape Horn, via the Straits of Magellan, or to and from the Isthmuses of Panama and Tehuantepec. The vessels employed in the trade of the United States with foreign countries contributed about 33 per cent of the total Panama tonnage for the year 1910. Over 56 per cent of the shipping that would have used the canal during the year in question was employed in handling commerce that did not touch the shores of the United States. The importance of the west coast South American trade and the large place occupied by Europe in that trade are indicated by the fact that 38 per cent of the total shipping that would have used a Panama Canal in 1909–1910 consisted of vessels serving the trade of Europe with the west coast of South America.*

To estimate the probable traffic of the Panama Canal during the early years of its operation and at the end of 5- and 10-year periods, it is necessary to apply to the tonnage that would have used the canal in 1910 such a rate of increase as is justified by the growth of the world's commerce.

Since this was written the great European war has temporarily stopped most of the maritime foreign trade of Continental Europe and has interfered with the commerce of Great Britain. The trade of Europe with the Pacific coast of North and South America forms such a large share of the commerce that will use the Panama Canal that the war in Europe must necessarily reduce the tonnage of Panama Canal traffic for one or two years at least.


The Panama Canal

An investigation made by the Isthmian Canal Commission from 1899 to 1901 showed that the available Panama Canal traffic in 1899 was about 5,000,000 tons. Records kept for a period of years by the Suez Canal Company showed practically the same available tonnage. Thus, the increase in available Panama Canal traffic during the eleven years ending in 1910 amounted to 661 per cent and was at the rate of 59 per cent per decade. The trade of the United States with non-European countries increased 67 per cent in value during the decade 1900–1910. The commerce of the Atlantic-Gulf ports of the United States with Pacific countries rose in value 63.1 per cent, while the tonnage of the Suez Canal advanced 70.26 per cent during the decade ending with 1910 and 78.4 during the 10 years closing with 1912. These and other facts that might be adduced indicate that an increase of 60 per cent per decade in the traffic of the Panama Canal may conservatively be assumed. If that rate of growth shall prevail down to 1915, the tonnage of shipping available for the use of the canal will then be 10,500,000 net tons per annum.

It is important to know what part of this total tonnage will probably be made up of shipping engaged in the intercoastal trade of the United States, and how much of the remaining tonnage will consist of American and foreign shipping. Table VIII contains an estimate of the probable tonnage of the Panama Canal in 1915, 1920 and 1925, so classified as to show what part of the total will consist of shipping in the American coastwise trade and what portions of the total will consist of American ships and foreign ships engaged in American and foreign trade.


1920 AND 1925

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The figures given in the above table for American coast-to-coast shipping are obtained by assuming that the shipping employed in carrying the water-borne commerce that moved between the two seaboards of the United States in 1910 will have somewhat more than doubled by 1915. Should the rate of increase that has prevailed during 1911 and 1912 continue to 1915, the intercoastal traffic will have more than doubled during the 5-year period. In constructing Table VIII, it was also thought conservative to assume that the traffic between the two seaboards by way of the Panama Canal would double during the first decade and, thus, reach 2,000,000 tons in 1925. This again is believed to be an estimate well on the safe side of what will happen. In estimating the growth in the total Panama Canal traffic during the first 10 years of the canal's operation an increase of only 60 per cent has been assumed. Should only this rate of growth be realized, which is much less than the actual rate of increase of the traffic of the Suez Canal after that waterway has been in operation for more than four decades and its tonnage has become large, the traffic of the Panama Canal, in 1925, will amount to 17,000,000 net tons of shipping, of which not less than 2,000,000 tons will consist of vessels operated in the coast-tocoast trade. There will be about 1,150,000 tons of American ships employed in the foreign commerce of the United States, and probably 13,850,000 tons of vessels under foreign flags engaged in carrying the commerce of other countries and the foreign trade of the United States.



The Panama Canal will be of benefit to American producers and traders by providing new and cheaper transportation facilities. It is also expected that, at least, some of the transcontinental shipments by rail will move at cheaper rates than would be charged if there were no Panama Canal. The commercial value of the canal may, thus, be measured by its effect upon services and rates by water and by rail.

Whatever may be the effect of the canal upon the rates actually charged by the coastwise carriers, it is certain that the costs of transportation by water between the two seaboards will be largely reduced. The rates between New York and San Francisco by way of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec are said to average

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