Panama Canal Construction Update 1-21-2015

Construction companies have installed the first gate for the new locks on the Pacific side of the Panama Canal as the waterway’s expansion project enters its final year of construction, according to the Panama Canal Authority.
The expansion, which includes dredging the navigation channels, new entranceways, locks and improvements to the water supply for the lock basins, is 85 percent complete, the ACP said. The new lanes are expected to start receiving larger vessels sometime in the first quarter of 2016.
Eight lock gates will be installed on the Pacific side of the waterway. The steel rolling gate is 8 meters wide, 57.6 meters long, 22.3 meters in height and weighs 2,300 tons. It was moved into place on self-propelled motorized wheel transporters with more than 400 wheels each.
Installation of lock gates on the Atlantic side of the waterway began last month. Two gates have already been installed.
The ability to handle much larger container, bulk and liquid bulk vessels is expected to impact logistics and shipping patterns on land and at sea as companies calculate the relative cost and time to transit the Canal for trade lanes between Asia and the East coasts of North and South America, as well as the between the opposite coasts of the Americas. The ACP recently announced a draft toll structure for the expanded lanes. The newly expanded canal will compete with the Suez Canal and the transcontinental rail route across the United States from West Coast ports.

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