The expansion of the Panama Canal to take post-panamax ships reached a new milestone last week with the filling of a segment of channel linking the new locks with the Culebra Cut.
When complete in 2014, the canal will be able to take container ships of up to 13,000 teu, rather than current 5,000 teu.
In total the programme consists of construction of two new sets of locks – one on the Pacific and one on the Atlantic side of the Canal. Each lock will have three chambers and each chamber will have three water reutilization basins.
The programme also entails the widening and deepening of existing navigational channels in Gatun Lake and the deepening of Culebra Cut.
In order to open a new 6.1 km-long access channel to connect the Pacific locks and the Culebra Cut, four dry excavation projects will be executed.
Panama Canal Authority Administrator Alberto Alemán Zubieta said: “The Canal continues to focus on enhancing the value of Panama as a world trade route as our country offers all kinds of geographic and competitive advantages. Today´s act of filling part of the channel is one more step in that direction.”
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