The World's Shortcut: How the Panama Canal Works

  • Published: 02 July 2019
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    Animation by Josh Sherrington
    Sound by Graham Haerther (
    Thumbnail by Simon Buckmaster

    Special thanks to Patreon supporters Adam Chelminski, Arkadiy Kulev, Charles Zilinski, Chris Allen, Connor J Smith, Daddy Donald, Etienne Dechamps, Eyal Matsliah, Hank Green, John & Becki Johnston, Kyle, MyNameIsKir, Plinio Correa, Qui Le, Remi_Scarlet, Tom Dooner, Tyler Hamm, and Vaughn Mudrick

    Music by
    Select footage courtesy the AP Archive


Comments • 1 862

  • Wendover Productions
    Wendover Productions   4 months back

    I hope you found this video interesting! If you're looking for more Wendover Productions content, we recently started a podcast called Extremities. It's all about the world's most isolated places with the first season focusing on Pitcairn--the tiny British Overseas Territory in the South Pacific with a population of 50. You can listen to that on any major podcasting app or all the links are here:

    • Octopus
      Octopus  1 months back

      Can you please do one on how ships get to states like Minnesota

    • Karl Johan Felsager Jakobsen
      Karl Johan Felsager Jakobsen  2 months back

      What about goung North og Canada egen the ice melts

    • Proud Deplorable
      Proud Deplorable  2 months back

      Do a video about HAARP and weather modification as well. It appears you are really interested in the weather and weather modification is 100 percent proven. Ever heard of seeding clouds for rain? That's just the start.

    • aziz ali
      aziz ali  2 months back

      Look how small Trinidad and Tobago looking

  • Madhura Naik
    Madhura Naik  15 hours back

    You see
    He says that so much

    • Joks iZantos
      Joks iZantos  16 hours back

      Do canal here in the Philippines, i expect it to be full of plastic

      • Metal Jacket
        Metal Jacket  21 hours back

        Why would they use fresh water from the lake when they have two oceans on either side of the canal that "global warming" should supply with plenty of water in the future..and at present for that matter .

        • Americus Patrioticus
          Americus Patrioticus  2 days back

          Perhaps Trump should build a 200 to 300 foot wide canal along the US Mexico border. That would solve multiple problems. It would stem the influx of illegal aliens while providing a huge passageway for future shipping. The terrain for the most part is lower than the Panama Canal and contains the Rio Grande, so much of the digging is already done. While the initial cost would be high due to the length required for the canal, the future benefits would outweigh the costs. Both Mexico and the USA would reap tremendous profits from managing the canal.

          • george georgantas
            george georgantas  2 days back

            Well researched and interesting videos on this channel. You have 2m+ subscribers so should employ a voice actor to present this hard work in a less monotonous way.

            • Daniel HN
              Daniel HN  3 days back

              The amount of times you say "You see.." almost makes me go crazy lol
              Yes, I do see!

              • I Appreciate Slaps
                I Appreciate Slaps  3 days back

                But it's more risky to go through the Suez canal because of pirates

                • Sunny Wu
                  Sunny Wu  4 days back

                  Why don't they just dig deeper until the 2 oceans connect directly?

                  • Soviet Spud
                    Soviet Spud  5 days back

                    its amazing how Western technology really *peacefully* or *forcefully* opened up world trade like this

                    • Michal Muransky
                      Michal Muransky  6 days back

                      Those mega-ships are the biggest polluters in the transportation industry. They are partly responsible for the climate change that prevents them from using the canal. cause and effect...

                      • Bob Finkenbiner
                        Bob Finkenbiner  6 days back

                        lets talk about science, technology and add in world commerce.... and oh by the way "climate change" will end everything and bring about doom and despair. all hope is lost, we need an emotional, fear based pseudoscience to solve all the tech issues... said every liberal who failed math, engineering or business classes.

                        • Tal Borovich
                          Tal Borovich  6 days back

                          Suez canal>>> panama canal

                          • Kip Coomer
                            Kip Coomer  7 days back

                            Its a great experience to go thru the canal

                            • Jean-Luc Martel
                              Jean-Luc Martel  1 weeks back

                              The US signed a rather dubious treaty and then sacrificed many no doubt totally impovrished and immigrant workers to the gods of capitalism. THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF THE US SUMMARIZED.

                              • John Smith
                                John Smith  1 weeks back

                                If your going to unload a large ships to reload smaller ships your handing the cargo twice.
                                Might a well ship to the west coast of America and load everything going to the east coast by rail train.

                                • Bjornarmar
                                  Bjornarmar  1 weeks back

                                  Literally every single video:

                                  “Here’s a bunch of really interesting and engaging information about stuff you’ve probably never thought about.

                                  “Also global warming.”

                                  • John Smith
                                    John Smith  1 weeks back

                                    If Global warming would hurry up and get here the world could use Canada's new northern Pacific to Atlantic canal.

                                • Christopher scott
                                  Christopher scott  1 weeks back

                                  OMG MY COUNTRY 😍🇵🇦

                                  • BlackShampoo75
                                    BlackShampoo75  2 weeks back

                                    Segway 2/10

                                    • Rat King
                                      Rat King  2 weeks back

                                      The Suez canal wants to know your location...

                                      • Hooli Fruli
                                        Hooli Fruli  2 weeks back

                                        this is for a container ship with 3600 containers...– $321,446 for the containers

                                        – $11,445 for the work of 7 tugboats

                                        – $4,745 for ground assistants

                                        – $3,600 for ground wires

                                        • CiaranAnything
                                          CiaranAnything  2 weeks back

                                          its pronounced bay-oh-nuh

                                          • gahpryel gahpryel
                                            gahpryel gahpryel  3 weeks back

                                            With all due respect for the quality content, you might want to consider adding the numbers listed in metric units also. Please.

                                            • dumb shit
                                              dumb shit  3 weeks back

                                              Suez canal joined the chat

                                              Somoli pirates: heheheh

                                              • Anthony Scali
                                                Anthony Scali  3 weeks back

                                                Panama can destroy the entire world.

                                                • Jacob Stewart
                                                  Jacob Stewart  3 weeks back

                                                  A man, a plan, a canal. Panama! (drawkcab ti gnidaer yrt)

                                                  • nvstewart
                                                    nvstewart  3 weeks back

                                                    I took my rowing boat through the Panama Canal before today. They told me that because I don't have a shipping container connected I could go for free.

                                                    True story.

                                                    • joseph-mario pelerin
                                                      joseph-mario pelerin  3 weeks back

                                                      if you really want to save on shipping cost, lets put the god damn sail back on !!!

                                                      • joseph-mario pelerin
                                                        joseph-mario pelerin  7 days back

                                                        @John Smith ya, iguess you cant just walk into some crummy brothel, hiring all the greasy old man promising gold and rum anymore...

                                                      • John Smith
                                                        John Smith  1 weeks back

                                                        @joseph-mario pelerin Your paying the crew by the day and your doing 5 knots the cost will build up.

                                                      • joseph-mario pelerin
                                                        joseph-mario pelerin  1 weeks back

                                                        John Smith ya right, when you pay for fuel...

                                                      • John Smith
                                                        John Smith  1 weeks back

                                                        Time is money.

                                                    • joseph-mario pelerin
                                                      joseph-mario pelerin  3 weeks back

                                                      the planet cant handle much more than panama size need... why always, somebody somewhere have to get greedy and instead of sending two ship, they want to send one big one that cost triple to maintain and run just to save on crew member??!

                                                      • lionn420
                                                        lionn420  3 weeks back

                                                        "no matter what happens it will continue as the worlds shortcut"..........BUT........what happens when global warming makes the passage through the north pole region a yr round option. WAY shorter from the Asian market to Europe......,and no tolls or weight limits. if the polar passage becomes yr round it would at the very least make the panama canal difficult to maintain a profit.

                                                        • TcRiverrat18
                                                          TcRiverrat18  3 weeks back

                                                          I love this channel so much.

                                                          • gia
                                                            gia  3 weeks back

                                                            Why is your voice like 2-3 semitones lower in these videos vs HAI videos lmao I’m tripping out

                                                            • Cobreezyy06
                                                              Cobreezyy06  3 weeks back

                                                              That’s not the butterfly effect... it’s cause and effect

                                                              • Cobreezyy06
                                                                Cobreezyy06  3 weeks back

                                                                Whoaa he breezed over that 5600 worker fatalities real quick

                                                                • Judy Hale
                                                                  Judy Hale  3 weeks back

                                                                  I have relatives in Bayonne, I didn’t realize the Panama Canal was the reason they remodeled that bridge!

                                                                  • Lukeland
                                                                    Lukeland  3 weeks back

                                                                    Why Don't Thailand Make a Canal Through Their Thinest Sliver Of Land In The Malay Peninsula So That They Shorten The Time And Lower The Amount Of Resources Wasted Going Around The Peninsula?

                                                                    • Rick Traveler Smith
                                                                      Rick Traveler Smith  4 weeks back

                                                                      Bay ohn
                                                                      NOT Bay ahn

                                                                      • Rick Traveler Smith
                                                                        Rick Traveler Smith  4 weeks back

                                                                        Pan uh mah
                                                                        NOT pan uh muh

                                                                        • infinitecanadian
                                                                          infinitecanadian  4 weeks back

                                                                          It is so hypocritical how the U.S.A. wanted to control the Panama Canal and yet bitched about it when it was nationalized from the British and French and they retaliated.

                                                                          • Kolby Richardson
                                                                            Kolby Richardson  4 weeks back

                                                                            5 mins in and still no talking about how it works. Do not title it How the Panama Canal Works if you do not plan to devote the time to it.

                                                                            • EASYTIGER10
                                                                              EASYTIGER10  4 weeks back

                                                                              Why can't they just pump the water from the bottom lock on the Atlantic side back up to the lake rather than let it flow into the ocean?

                                                                              • Death B. Grapes
                                                                                Death B. Grapes  1 months back

                                                                                Freeport is operated by Hutchinson from Hong Kong
                                                                                I thought you said it was free

                                                                                • Hardtop Harry
                                                                                  Hardtop Harry  1 months back

                                                                                  Very informative. Thanks for this. I have often wondered how the canals worked - very similar to the small canals in England - I found it difficult to conceive of the scale. Thanks for this great production.
                                                                                  I would be very interested to know how the canals served shipping during the world wars. A future project perhaps?

                                                                                  • Fred Stiening
                                                                                    Fred Stiening  1 months back

                                                                                    Not every container headed to the interior of the United States is going through New Jersey. A large chunk of the traffic goes to Chicago. A flat map hides that the distances are much shorter up North than at the equator. On top of that, going nonstop at 70 mph cuts weeks from transit times, even though it means offloading containers and reloading them on ships on the East Coast

                                                                                    • IG laggmania
                                                                                      IG laggmania  1 months back


                                                                                      • Arthur Heidt
                                                                                        Arthur Heidt  1 months back

                                                                                        panama canal sucks seasnakes are entering the atlantic over it

                                                                                        • Eriq Affandi
                                                                                          Eriq Affandi  1 months back

                                                                                          When I played HOI4 and I heard Panama Canal, I make sure to invade the owner, so I can have Panama Canal, then I blow it in case of war.

                                                                                          I play as Unitary Canada btw :)

                                                                                          • domino diamond
                                                                                            domino diamond  1 months back

                                                                                            What if they just dug the trench clean across and let the oceans mix