Most of us take the Panama Canal for granted, if we even think of it at all. It has a turbulent history that includes the deaths of 25,000 workers over the more than three decades that it took to construct it. Some thought at the time that it would never be finished.

In the present day, this waterway is a huge deal in the world of shipping, Vessels of all types use it to avoid the long and dangerous voyage around the bottom of South America. But serious, unprecedented drought there now during what is supposed to be the rainy season is causing restrictions on shipping and making shippers consider other options. It’s a game changer for the shipping industry to have this important artery unable to meet demand.