Inaugural transit of the expanded Panama Canal begins

Early Sunday morning, the inaugural transit of the Panama Canal expansion began with the transit of Neopanamax vessel COSCO Shipping Panama through the new Atlantic-facing Agua Clara Locks.

“Today, we make history and improve global connectivity.” said Panama Canal Administrator and CEO Jorge L. Quijano, adding, “We thank our customers for their support and appreciate the 170 reservations we have received thus far to transit the Expanded Canal.”

The expansion programme is the Canal’s largest enhancement project to date. It included the construction of a new set of locks on the Atlantic and Pacific side of the waterway and the excavation of more than 150m cu m of material, creating a second lane of traffic and doubling the cargo capacity of the waterway. While the expanded locks are 70 ft wider and 18 ft deeper than those in the original Canal, they use less water due to water-savings basins that recycle 60% of the water used per transit.

The expansion will introduce new routes, liner services, and segments (such as liquefied natural gas) to the Canal.