For those of us interested in global maritime activities, the expansion of the Panama Canal has been a primary item of interest the last few years. Yesterday, June 9, 2016, a milestone was set when the first trial transit of the new Agua Clara Locks was successfully accomplished. The Panama Canal released the following YouTube video.
This transit was part of a series of long-planned training events occurring in the run-up to the Expanded Canal's June 26 Inauguration. The full Press Release is here.
The following is from the Press Release ...
About the Panama Canal Expansion project
The Panama Canal Expansion project is the largest construction project undertaken in the waterway since its opening in 1914. Considered and analyzed for a decade with more than 100 studies, construction on the first-ever expansion began in 2007 to provide the world (shippers, retailers, manufacturers, consumers) with greater shipping options, better maritime service, enhanced logistics and supply-chain reliability. The Expansion includes the construction of a new set of locks on both the Atlantic and Pacific sides and multiple dredging projects to create a second lane of traffic along the Canal. The new locks are much wider and deeper than the current locks (180 feet versus 110 feet and 60 feet versus 42 feet) and recycle nearly 60 percent of the water used per lockage with state-of-the art Water-Savings Basins. The project doubles the waterway's cargo capacity, enhancing the Canal's efficiency, reliability and customer service. The existing Canal serves more than 144 maritime routes, connecting 160 countries and 1,700 ports across the world. The Expanded Canal will provide greater economies of scale to global commerce as Neopanamax (formerly called Post-Panamax) ships, which can transport approximately three times the amount of containers than a Panamax vessel, will be able to transit through due to expansion. Since Neopanamax vessels and new segments, such as Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), can now take advantage of the Canal's benefits, new routes, liner services and other maritime changes are expected to emerge. In line with its myopic focus on customer service since the handover to Panama nearly 20 years ago, the Panama Canal continues to provide the world, global commerce and individual segments with new products and services.