On 22 October 2006 the Panamanians decided to approve a project to widen the canal. As the commercial choke point for the northern hemisphere, the Panama Canal is today at the cusp of two global macroeconomic phenomena: the evolution of sea routes and the transformation of geopolitical balances. The canal’s competitiveness is being put to the test in a context of growing worldwide maritime traffic. After it is widened it will continue to have an important place in world maritime trade. The strategic importance of the canal is thus different in kind to that which it enjoyed in the past: its military interest has given way to purely commercial considerations.