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Second shipment of locks gates arrives in Panama

Second shipment of locks gates arrives in Panama

The second shipment of four rolling gates for the Panama Canal expansion’s third set of locks, arrived in waters of the waterway in the Atlantic province of Colon, aboard the semi-submersible heavy lift vessel, Sun Rise, on Tuesday, after a journey of nearly one month across the Atlantic Ocean, from Trieste, Italy.

"This is an important milestone because [we now have a] full half of the 16 gates that will be used in the new locks," said Panama Canal Authority Administrator, Jorge Luis Quijano.

Unlike the first four gates that arrived last August and had similar sizes, this second group has two different dimensions, depending on the niche where they will be installed within the lock chambers.

The two highest, or "C" were made for the niche 3 in the middle chamber of the Pacific locks, and measured 57.6m long, 10m deep and 31.9m high; with an approximate weight of 3,900 tonnes, including all internal gear as ladders and hatches. The two lowest, or type "A", will be located in the niche 1 in the upper chamber in the Atlantic locks, on the side of the lake, measuring 57.6m long, 8m deep and 22.3m high, with a weight of nearly 2,300 tonnes.

While the two intended for the project in the Atlantic side will remain in place until the time of installation, the other two will then be transferred to the Pacific side, after the installation of the support blocks on the dock built for their landing.

The construction, by the Italian subcontractor Cimolai SpA, of the locks gates began in October 2011. The new locks will operate with a redundant system of gates, with 16 units in total.  The first shipment of gates arrived in Panama on 20 August 2013. The third shipment, which will bring the remaining two gates and two type C type F gates, is scheduled to arrive in Panama in October this year.

Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC) is the contractor for the design and construction of the third set of locks. All gates must be in Panama in February 2015, as agreed between the Panama Canal Authority and the contractor.

The Panama Canal expansion programme registered a 76.3% overall progress of the 31 May 2014.

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