The next stage of the Panama Canal Expansion Programme has started by filling the Cocoli’s locks on the Pacific side, after the completion of similar work on the Atlantic side earlier this month.
This milestone marks the beginning of the project’s compliance and operational testing phase.
Panama Canal administrator and CEO Jorge Quijano said: "Earlier this month, we reached one of the most important milestones of the programme through the filling work of the Atlantic locks; now moving on to the Pacific side, we take great pride in the work done so far and are eager to bring the full programme to completion."
The filling process will be performed using electric and diesel pumps. Each electric pump will be capable of providing 30,000gal of water per minute, while diesel pumps will carry 7,000gal of water a minute.
Works, including the filling and subsequent testing, are expected to take three months.
Extension of the Panama Canal will create a new lane of traffic along the canal through the construction of a set of locks, enhancing the waterway’s capacity. It is expected to double the canal’s capacity, having a direct impact on economies of scale and international maritime trade.
The programme is scheduled for completion by next year.
In May, PSA Panama International Terminal (PSA Panama) started expansion works for phase two of its container terminal on the west bank of the Panama Canal.
After completion, PSA Panama will have an annual handling capacity of two million TEU containers.
Image: View of the Panama Canal. Photo: courtesy of Panama Canal Authority.