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Panama President officially opens the expanded Panama Canal

Panama President officially opens the expanded Panama Canal
More than 20,000 spectators, international delegations, Canal customers, shipowners and liner ceos watched the 9,478 teu-Marshall Islands-flagged Cosco Shipping Panama slowly transiting the Pacific Cocoli locks while President Juan Carlos Varela formally declared inaugurated the expanded Panama Canal, at 6pm (local time).

Minutes before Jorge Quijano, Panama Canal Authority Administrator had delivered the waterway new third lane to Varela who received it in the name of all Panamanians.

Among international onlookers were seven presidents including Michelle Bachelet from Chile and Taiwan’s Tsai Ing-wen, as well as Spain’s King Emeritus Juan Carlos,

The boxship formerly known as Andronikos was renamed Cosco Shipping Panama in honour of the inauguration of the expanded Canal. She had begun her voyage early morning arriving at the Atlantic Agua Clara locks where Captain Jude Rodrigues was welcomed by Panama’s president Juan Carlos Varela, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) Administrator Jorge Quijano and Coscocs chairman Xu Lirong.

This third lane of traffic features two locks with three levels or chambers. The lock chambers are 427 m long, 55 m wide and 18.3 m deep. Compared with the original Panama Canal, these new locks are 40% longer and 60% wider, improved by a system of water-saving basins that will use 7% less water than the original locks and save 60% per lockage.

Commercial operations will begin this Monday 27 June with the transit of LPG tanker Lycaste Peace from NYK.

The expanded canal will see transit of neo-panamax vessels, three times the size of the existing panamaxes and will enable products such as LNG to transit from the US Gulf coast to Asian countries, in particular South Korea and Japan.

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