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China Cosco vessel will be first to transit the expanded Panama Canal

China Cosco vessel will be first to transit the expanded Panama Canal
China Cosco Shipping has won the lottery for the first transit through the Panama Canal’s third lane during the waterway’s inauguration on Sunday, 26 June.

The shipping line’s 9,400 teu-container vessel Andronikos will be making the inaugural transit.

The draw took place Friday morning at the Panama Canal Administration Building, in which a Notary Public served as witness, among invited attendees. The Norwegian/Swedish shipping line Wallenius Wilhemsen Lines (WWL) and the Chinese shipping line China Cosco Shipping were the only shipping lines participating in the lottery.

“It is a great honour to have one of our top customers celebrate this historical moment with us,” said Panama Canal Administrator, Jorge L. Quijano. “We are excited and prepared to continue providing the same reliable and efficient service within the expanded Panama Canal that our customers have come to expect through the years.”

The draw was carried out with ballots labeled with the name of each participant. The first ballot was chosen and given to the Notary Public, who opened and handed it to the Administrator, who announced the winner of the draw. Directly following the announcement, a second ballot was chosen for the shipping line—in this case WWL—that will deploy a vessel for the inaugural transit in the event that the winner informs the Panama Canal by 10 May that it will not be able to deploy an approved vessel.

The winner will incur in all costs associated with the transit, including booking fees and other marine services, which will be charged in accordance with Panama Canal published tariffs.

The Panama Canal invited its top customers to participate in the draw. Of the invited customers, those interested in participating were required to indicate the neo-panamax vessel's name, type and dimensions that it planned to deploy on the inauguration day of the expanded Canal.

In addition, on 18 April, the Panama Canal began accepting transit bookings for neo-panamax vessels for commercial transits through the expanded Canal, which will begin on 27 June, 2016. The Canal will offer four additional slots per day for neo-panamax vessels, in addition to the existing 25 slots for the existing Canal.

The first commercial transit reservation was granted to a LPG tanker Linden Pride of Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK), represented by shipping agent Norton Lilly International (Panama).