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2008 Budget For Panama Canal Improvements Approved

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

04 July 2007

On June 30, the 2008 fiscal year budget for investment in various projects designed to enhance the Panama Canal was approved, it emerged on Monday.

The projects now given official financial support for next year by the Panamanian legislature included investments in Canal service, reliability and efficiency.

Enhancements include ongoing investments in technology, new equipment and capital improvements. Moreover, the Canal's 2008 funds to continue the expansion program were approved.

Expansion investments include, among others: funding the second phase of dry excavation of the new lane on the Pacific side, the widening of the Gaillard Cut and the deepening of the navigational channel in Gatun Lake.

A new lane of traffic along the Panama Canal will be permitted through the construction of a new set of locks, which will double capacity and allow more traffic and wider ships.

"These investments are the product of detailed analysis and evaluation to ensure that we continue funding the right projects to continuously improve and maintain Canal service. The business of the Canal is to ensure that we provide customers with a safe and reliable service. Consistently increasing the value of the Panama Canal remains our top priority," announced the Chairman of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) Board of Directors and Minister for Canal Affairs, Dani Ariel Kuzniecky.

The ACP Board of Directors and Advisory Board met in Shanghai last month to analyze the progress of expansion and other major projects underway at the Panama Canal.

ACP Administrator and CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta briefed the Advisory Board - composed of business, maritime and trade experts - on key Canal issues, while the groups discussed strategy and current trends in the maritime and shipping industries.

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