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Final Gates To Be Installed At Panama Canal

by Mike Godfrey, Tax-News.com, Washington

27 November 2014


The Panama Canal expansion project has reached another major milestone with the recent arrival of the final shipment of gates for the new locks.

The final shipment, which includes four gates – two to be used in the locks at the Atlantic end, and two at the Pacific end – arrived in Panama on November 12 after a 25-day voyage from the Port of Trieste in Italy.

The gates are the last of a series of staggered shipments of four locks at a time. The first gate shipment arrived on August 20, 2013, the second on June 10, 2014, and the third on September 7, 2014. Construction of the gates began in October 2011 by subcontractor Cimolai in Italy.

The two gates to be installed in the Pacific locks are the tallest of all 16, standing 33 meters in height, and weighing 4,232 tons. The two gates to be installed in the Atlantic locks are 10 meters wide, 29 meters high, and weigh 3,319 tons. All gates have the same length of 57.6 meters, but vary in height, width, and weight, depending on their intended location. The tallest gate is equivalent to an 11-story building.

"This is a major milestone for the Panama Canal expansion since we now have all 16 rolling gates in Panama to be installed in the new locks," said Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano. "With this expansion, the Panama Canal will remain competitive, opening new markets and possibilities for international trade through the waterway."

The Panama Canal expansion project includes the construction of a third lane of traffic to allow the passage of larger vessels. This will double the Canal's capacity and is expected to have a positive impact on world maritime trade.

The multi-billion dollar project hasn't been without its problems however. Earlier this year, Grupo Unidos por el Canal, the consortium chosen to construct the new locks, stopped work after a row with the Panama Canal Authority over funding. After a stand-off lasting several weeks, the two sides reached a deal in late February, under which the contractor agreed to complete work on the locks by December 2015, one year later than originally planned, in return for the release of new funds.

TAGS: marine

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