The Panama Canal is a 48-mile-wide engineering marvel that connects the Atlantic (via the Caribbean) and Pacific Oceans. It was constructed over a 10-year period from 1904 to 1914 and has since become a key cog in international trade. Back in 2006, Panama approved a referendum to expand the canal, a move that aims to double its capacity. Now, some eight years and $5.2 billion later, this expansion is nearly complete. In fact, according to The Atlantic, a tentative opening date has been set for April 2016.

So just what the heck does the Panama Canal have to do with flexible packaging? According to Simon King, managing director, PCI Film and Flexible Packaging Consulting, this expansion could lead to a boost in flexible packaging demand. In a post on PCI’s website, King cites Panama’s growth in food processing and retailing, its diversified food economy and the country’s economic similarities to the U.S. business cycle as reasons for the projected increase in flexible packaging demand in the area. King also says that Panama’s flexible packaging consumption has been expanding by about 5 percent per year over the last five years and projects to grow at a 6 percent clip over the next five years.

As King concludes, the country could be a future point of focus for converters. Check out his complete post over at www.PCIfilms.com.