Fifth anniversary of the Expanded Panama Canal

Last month, Panama Canal Authority celebrated fifth anniversary of the grand opening of the Expanded Panama Canal.

Following seven years of hard work, this massive infrastructure project was launched by the Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela on June 26th 2016.

With the price tag of $5.25 billion, the project required 50 million cubic meters of excavated earth, 290,000 tonnes of steel, 4.8 million cubic meters of concrete and more than 100 million working hours.

“On June 26, 2016, thousands of Panamanians rejoiced in an event that marked a before and after in the history of the Canal in Panamanian hands. The inauguration of the expanded Canal has resulted in growing contributions to the State, which in 2020 amounted to B/.1,824 million. The third set of locks has allowed us to handle greater cargo volumes, which would have been impossible without the vote of confidence granted by Panamanians in the national referendum of October 2006,” commented Marianela Dengo de de Obaldía, Vice President of Communication.

With the opening of the new locks, the expanded Panama Canal now allows 1,400 feet long, 140 feet wide and 60 feet deep vessels to travel the waterway.

Currently, 54% of the cargo that passes through the Canal transits through the neopanamax locks, which positions them as the main source of income for the waterway, generating 58% of toll revenues.

Likewise, the new locks have generated value by capturing new markets, such as the North American liquefied natural gas that transits through the Canal to supply the energy needs of Asian countries.

“We continue to focus on growing, adapting to changing scenarios while taking care of our resources. We have great challenges such as promoting digital transformation to achieve greater efficiencies, and ensuring water supply for more than half of the country’s population and for Canal operations.” added Marianela.

According to her, by the end of this decade, the Authority has the goal of becoming a carbon neutral organization, contributing to the conservation and preservation of the environment, within the framework of an integral commitment to make the Canal a sustainable company, at the service of its shareholders: all Panamanians.

The Expansion Program is the Canal’s largest enhancement project in its more than 100 years of existence. It included the construction of a new set of locks on the Atlantic and Pacific sides of the waterway and the excavation of more than 50 million cubic meters of material, creating a second lane of traffic and doubling the cargo capacity of the waterway.

Photo: Panama Canal Authority (ACP)