Panama Canal Celebrates 102nd Anniversary
The Panama Canal celebrated yesterday 102 years of successful operations and service to the global maritime community, just one day after welcoming its 100th transit through the expanded waterway.
Less than two months following the Expanded Canal’s historic June 26 Inauguration, the Neopanamax vessel Hanjin Xiamen became the 100th vessel to transit the new locks, passing through the Canal on the morning of Sunday, August 14.
The Panama-flagged containership, which measures 294 meters in length and 40 meters in beam, made its northbound transit from the Pacific to Atlantic Ocean, destined for New York.
To ensure the continued reliability of the Canal over the past 102 years, constant maintenance of the original locks has been crucial.
And, for that reason, the Panama Canal has invested more than $3.3 billion in improvements of the original waterway in the past 17 years alone.
Some of these investments include:
- Upgrades to its locomotive fleet and tracks;
- Installation of new tie-up and mooring stations to allow additional Panamax vessels to transit, adding tens of millions of tons to the Canal’s annual capacity;
- Deepening of all of the lake channels, increasing draft reliability;
- Replacement of high mast lights in the locks to provide better illumination and extend daylight-hour transits;
- Investments in the Canal’s tugboat fleet that grew from 20 units in year 2000 to 46 new modern units that have been equipped with greater maneuverability, power and technology;
- And, more precise aids to the Canal’s navigation and vessel tracking system.