The Christian Science Monitor:
The canal will reduce the voyage time from the US Gulf Coast to 20 days, down from 34 days around Africa or 31 days through the Suez canal. The new route will also reduce travel time to Chile from 20 days to eight or nine days and to Colombia and Ecuador from 25 to five days, according to the Energy Information Administration. Transportation costs will also decrease through the canal with a new system that encourages LNG traffic.
There’s more to it. Also, given the ingenuity of free enterprise, there’ll be other uses that are unknown at this time.