The expansion of the Panama Canal is now basically complete with bookings for the first vessels through the improved waterways now being taken.
The largest infrastructure project since the waterway’s original construction, the Panama Canal Expansion Program has created a new lane of traffic along the Canal through the construction of a new set of locks, increasing the waterway’s capacity. The new locks will have three chambers, water-saving basins, lateral filling and emptying system along with rolling gates.
The project has been plagued by cost overruns, contractor disputes, and most recently cracks that formed in the concrete of the new locks.
Just last week, the Panama Canal Authority ran a lotto to select the first vessel to transit through the newly expanded canal. The Authority invited it’s top fifteen clients into the drawing in which they had to name the vessel that they wanted to make the transit, along with the type of vessel and it’s dimensions. For security reasons, gas carriers were not permitted to be considered in the inaugural transit.
Check out the vision of the lotto drawing here …
And the winner is …….. China COSCO Shipping!! They have won the draw for the first transit through the Expanded Panama Canal during the waterway’s inauguration on Sunday, June 26. The shipping line’s container vessel ‘Andronikos” will be making the first transit (shown here below). The vessel has a maximum capacity of 9,400 TEUs, is 8.25 meters in beam and 299.98 meters in length. Congratulations!
In addition, more than 100 Neopanamax ships have already made reservations for commercial transit through the new locks, which will begin on June 27, 2016, following the historic inauguration (vessels are classified as Neopanamax if their dimensions are over 966 feet in length or over 107 feet in beam).
Source credit: gcaptain & the panama canal authority