Panama Canal Expansion Complete
The inaugural event marking the opening of the newly expanded Panama Canal was held yesterday. The over $5 billion dollar project lasted 9 years. The expansion will pave the way for “mega ships” to traverse the Canal.
The first container vessel to make the transition through the newly opened shipping lane in the Canal was the COSCO Shipping Panama which left Greece on June 11th for the journey across the Atlantic. The ship’s Captain, Jude Rodrigues, was honored to be chosen to pilot the first inaugural sailing through the Canal. The ship was chosen at random during “a draw.”
"I had transited the Panama Canal many times before and it has been a great experience, but being the master of the first vessel to transit the expanded Canal is an experience of a century," he said. "The Panama Canal is testament to the diligence and wisdom of the people of Panama. The Panama Canal Expansion is a major event on itself and a milestone in global history. I would like to congratulate the people of Panama for their efforts and contribution to global economy."
The new expansion will significantly increase the shipping capabilities of the Canal.
“The Panama Canal Expansion Program is the largest construction project undertaken in the waterway since its opening in 1914. Considered and analyzed for a decade with more than 100 studies, construction on the first-ever expansion began in 2007 to provide the world with greater shipping options, better maritime service, enhanced logistics and supply-chain reliability,” according to a statement from the Panama Canal Authority. “The project doubles the waterway's cargo capacity, enhancing the Canal's efficiency, reliability and customer service. Since…vessels can now take advantage of the Canal's vast benefits, new routes, liner services and other maritime changes are expected to emerge.”
Officials at the Panama Canal, tweeted this to honor the thousands of guests who attended the inaugural ceremonies.