Just a month away from the expanded Panama Canal’s inauguration, shipping industry seeks to adapt to this new reality with multi-million investments in port technology and orders for bigger vessels that now will be able to pass through the canal.
According to Alphaliner, 214 Post-Panamax vessels will be especially designed to transit through the canal and the Wall Street Journal assures that 14 Panamax vessel have been dismissed so far this year. By the end of 2016, 40 more vessel will be scrapped.
Likewise, the Chinese construction company Landbridge Group is planning to invest around $900 million in a new container port in Margarita Island and a logistics center.
The project will be developed by China Construction Communication Company (CCCC) and is expected to be completed in 3 years.
The new port will have a capacity to accommodate Neo-Panamax vessels and manage 2.5 million TEU’s in a year approximately. A logistics park is also considered to meet the growing demand of logistics services that the expanded Panama Canal will bring.
Nowadays the Panama Canal generates 6% of the country’s GDP and a turnover of $1,030 million. USA is the leading country to move cargo through the canal with around 163 billion long tons, followed by China, Chile, Japan and Peru.
Countries by cargo traffic through the Panama Canal in 2015. Source: The Panama Canal Authority
New locks inauguration: A big event
Panama Canal Authorities recently announced that new locks would start operations on June 26th. The country’s Ministry of foreign Affairs said that more than 70 Heads of State and Government heads are invited to the ceremony.
“We will invite Heads of State and Governments heads from 70 countries, from the region and also those related to the Panama Canal commercial activities” said the Vice-Minister of Foreign Relations, Luis Miguel Hincapié.
After 7 years of work, the spanish conglomerate Sacyr and its associates finished the Panama Canal with a total cost of $3,118 million, which consist on a new set of locks that will allow the transit of vessels with three times more capacity (From 5,000 to 12,000).
Some key figures to understand what it takes to build one of the biggest engineering projects of 21st century according to EFE are:
Expanded Panama Canal in Numbers:
- 55 meters- the width of the new locks, which will allow Post-Panamax vessels transit.
- More than 10 thousand workers of 40 different countries participated in the expansion works.
- 5 million Cubic meters concrete-Enough to build 2 Keops pyramids or 450 buildings of 20 floors.
- 220,000 tons of Steel– the same amount to build 22 Eiffel towers. Se estima que las remodelaciones generen a Panamá unos 1.400 millones de dólares durante el próximo año.
The Panama Canal Authorities expect the expansion to generate around $1,4 million to the country during next year.
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