Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has started the installation of new gates at the canal, marking the 84% completion mark of the canal expansion programme.
Currently, the new steel gate is being installed in lock head two of the new locks on the Atlantic side of the waterway. The gate measures 10m-wide and 30.19m-height and weighs 3,285t.
Panama Canal administrator Jorge Quijano said: "This is a very important milestone for the expansion programme.
"We see how the new locks are rapidly taking shape as we move towards the successful completion of the project."
The gates were moved with the help of self-propelled motorised wheel transporters (SPMTs), which have more than 400 wheels each, and the locks were constructed by Italy’s steel manufacturer Cimolai.
Installation of the gate is expected to be completed in the next few days.
For both the Pacific and Atlantic sides, a total of 16 rolling gates will be provided to allow larger, post-Panamax ships and extended width barges to transit through the canal.
The expansion will double the canal’s capacity allowing the post-Panamax vessels to transit through the canal, with up to 13,000TEUs.
PCA is investing $5.25bn in the expansion of the 48-mile ship canal.
In October this year, Crowley Maritime delivered the first gate for the on-going Panama Canal expansion.
Crowley said it has been assigned to transport all eight gates for the Pacific side lock expansion.
Image: 16 rolling gates will be installed on both the Pacific and Atlantic sides. Photo: courtesy of Panama Canal Authority.