The World's Shortcut: How the Panama Canal Works

  • Published on Jul 2, 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 • 1 813

  • Wendover Productions
    Wendover Productions  2 months ago +854

    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 11 days ago

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

    • Karl Johan Felsager Jakobsen
      Karl Johan Felsager Jakobsen 19 days ago

      What about goung North og Canada egen the ice melts

    • Proud Deplorable
      Proud Deplorable 27 days ago

      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 Month ago

      Look how small Trinidad and Tobago looking

  • Hardtop Harry
    Hardtop Harry 2 hours ago

    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 3 hours ago

    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 Day ago


  • Arthur Heidt
    Arthur Heidt 3 days ago

    panama canal sucks seasnakes are entering the atlantic over it

  • Eriq Affandi
    Eriq Affandi 5 days ago +1

    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 5 days ago

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

  • hiccup22
    hiccup22 8 days ago


  • KingDave Durosier
    KingDave Durosier 8 days ago

    Who operates the ports of Haiti ? Can they get some love?

    • Katie K
      Katie K 6 days ago

      Jamaican here. None of the big companies. In order of ranking, Kingston, Caucedo in the Dominican Republic and Freeport in the Bahamas and are three of the major transhipment ports in the Caribbean, and by extent the entire Americas. In comparison, Haiti barely handles any cargo and thus isn't very attractive for investment.

  • Jeremy Cornwell
    Jeremy Cornwell 10 days ago

    Show lack of corrector, you over charge easements to operate and still goods.

  • Jeremy Cornwell
    Jeremy Cornwell 10 days ago

    If goods stay on ship, less likely to be stole.

  • Leaky Punt
    Leaky Punt 11 days ago +1

    Calculated 8 billion pounds into ship tonnage you will get a brain hemorrhage. METRIC its been around for more 200 years ,99% of the world would understand it for fuck sake.

  • Teemu
    Teemu 11 days ago


  • Patrice VonParis
    Patrice VonParis 12 days ago


  • Chairman Meow
    Chairman Meow 12 days ago

    Its awful that 5600 people died building it, but at least they died building something to the benefit of all mankind.

  • Deep Fried
    Deep Fried 12 days ago

    Global warming LOL

  • mark anderson
    mark anderson 13 days ago

    hey dipshits at youtube.....why would anyone pay for commercial free premium account when you allow commercials on these soon as I see a commercial...I go to the next video

  • Donell Giorgio
    Donell Giorgio 13 days ago +1

    We transited here last 2 days ago... yay 😃😃😃😃😃

  • Moa Damnit
    Moa Damnit 14 days ago

    'You See'

  • Gaylon Kent
    Gaylon Kent 14 days ago

    The announcer's pronunciation is tedius to listen to.

  • Island Aerial
    Island Aerial 14 days ago +1

    Aaaand there it is, a 'climate change' reference. Why?

  • PoodleScone
    PoodleScone 14 days ago +1

    Nicaragua could just have two deep water ports on each side of the country connected to a short railway.

  • theislandsc
    theislandsc 14 days ago +2

    You forgot to mention the part where Jimmy Carter just gave away the canal.

  • Vlad Tepes
    Vlad Tepes 16 days ago

    thanks for helping us reaching earth much quicker.

  • Rock Fish
    Rock Fish 16 days ago

    Just pump water in the lake feom the ocean

  • Alphonso ButlakIV
    Alphonso ButlakIV 17 days ago

    I was hoping we could scrap the border wall and just mine the boarder strip untill we've dug enough to run a canal there, and that would just be a byproduct of the boarder update.

  • Ezekiel Graeme
    Ezekiel Graeme 19 days ago

    Nope, they won't need more canal capacity. Climate change is melting the arctic which will become the primary shipping lane of the late 21st century.

  • Michin Sin
    Michin Sin 19 days ago

    This was freaking fascinating.
    Really wonder how the future looks though, considering climate change and all.
    PS: The big ass "NO SMOKING" Sign at 9:10 was kinda funny.

  • Karl Johan Felsager Jakobsen

    What about goung North og Canada egen the ice melts

  • Bobspineable
    Bobspineable 20 days ago

    At 6:32 you can see Newark Airport, therefore planes are in this video.

  • IronAperture
    IronAperture 21 day ago

    If building and operating the water channels is so expensive. And secondly, if trains are a competition, and ships land in Los Angeles where all the cargo is transfered to the cargo trains. Why not to build a rail instead in Nicaragua for the short distance?

    DSM DALLAS 2 21 day ago

    Blahh blahh blahh shush! Enjoy the video and STFU! Great video, very informative and visuals.

  • Truth and beauty
    Truth and beauty 22 days ago

    Seems like climate change will have geopolitical impacts that benefit the US - limiting Chinese trade
    Also thawing northern ice to facilitate access to arctic oil and ressources

    • Daniel
      Daniel 5 days ago

      not really, if panama chokes even more ships will go through suez

  • elizabeth green
    elizabeth green 22 days ago

    Wow! Great stuff!

  • Hugheszie
    Hugheszie 24 days ago

    The canal only effects the american continent, Europe is fine, they can ship between themselves just fine.

  • Burt Reynolds
    Burt Reynolds 24 days ago

    fuck jimmy carter

  • Frank Otte
    Frank Otte 25 days ago

    Most annoying music background track ever. Sounds like phone ringing nonstop.

  • quadziorr
    quadziorr 25 days ago

    I don't know if they are but they could use some generators during locking the ships. Then they could use energy to pump some water back to the lake or just sell that energy.

  • djpgamer7
    djpgamer7 26 days ago

    No, they raised the Bayonne bridge already.

  • A L
    A L 27 days ago

    A few Caribbean countries will benefit and I'm assuming that the owners of such ports will take a large chunk of the monies back to their respective countries.

    • Katie K
      Katie K 6 days ago

      No. What he failed to mention is that we're making large investments in infrastructure for value-added logistics. It will benefit people a ton and grow our economies very quickly. In fact, the change has already begun and a lot of construction is going on all over.

      Also, not all companies making investments are foreign companies. Some are local logistics companies. There are also public private partnerships, so part of it will definitely go to the government.

      Countries like mine have also made large investments in other areas such as airport infrastructure, including the creation of an aerotropolis, which he also didn't mention.

  • BobNobod
    BobNobod 29 days ago

    Just delete Panama

  • 859_ evo
    859_ evo Month ago

    "Smaller ~SIZE~"

  • J G
    J G Month ago

    Is it that expensive to dig out the lake to accommodate the lower water level?

  • matthew banta
    matthew banta Month ago

    Well we might lose the Panama canal if climate change gets worse, but on the bright side the Northwest passage through Canada stays open longer and longer each year. Many expeditions ended up freezing to death trying to find the Northwest passage only to get stuck in ice, but now you can cruise through with your summer clothes on for much of the year. But don't worry, plenty of people still think climate change is a hoax.

  • 1 618
    1 618 Month ago

    1:22 HAMBURG

  • Cotonetefilmmaker
    Cotonetefilmmaker Month ago

    I'm surprise you didn't talk about the North Pole. If it permanently unfreezes, you don't need the canals anymore cause you can just cut through the North Pole instead of going around.

  • Frank Castle
    Frank Castle Month ago +1

    Fuck communist piece of shit Carter

  • MasterTallness
    MasterTallness Month ago

    Good to know that Climate Change is threatening the ability of the Panama Canal to function. My existential dread just increased.

  • Salam Khaled
    Salam Khaled Month ago


  • Dave Richer
    Dave Richer Month ago

    Butterfly effect = the unforeseen causality between two events regardless of size, example, a butterfly flaps its wings in New York, there is tsunami a half a word away. Butterfly effect != the planned increase of choke point to a canal directly influencing the clearance needed on large waterway structures. #theMoreYouKnow.

  • Daniel
    Daniel Month ago

    I love this dude's channel.

  • HeyIt'sBaert
    HeyIt'sBaert Month ago

    DP World is a great name for a p orn site.

  • HeyIt'sBaert
    HeyIt'sBaert Month ago +2

    Just so happened to watch this on August 15th. Happy Birthday to the Canal.

  • Da_panther
    Da_panther Month ago

    6:42 that’s nyc not jersey

  • Argentina3000
    Argentina3000 Month ago +1

    WELL i HOPE the part two of this series: THE NICARAGUA CANAL

  • phayke
    phayke Month ago

    If china or russia did something like forcing its way for a canal like the USA, it'd be a worldwide shitshow

  • Grant Cooper
    Grant Cooper Month ago

    I am hearing lonks instead of locks so here's my meme
    " we'll get people to pay for the panama canal lonks! That equals.........STONKS

    • steve d
      steve d Month ago

      I'm so glad there are lots of special schools for people like you these days, good job little buddy 👍

  • Warsame Adam
    Warsame Adam Month ago

    Drought no problem ... pump sea water

  • Mainuddin Chisti
    Mainuddin Chisti Month ago

    Please make more maritime related videos

  • lexusalex
    lexusalex Month ago

    just bomb the shit out of panama in a straight line