China pushes for even wider Panama Canal

 13 Aug 2014 11.13am

A Chinese delegation has stated its interest in even bigger locks than those currently under construction at the Panama Canal.  

The current expansion, due for completion in December 2015, is set to allow 12,500 TEU ‘New-Panamax’ ships to traverse the improved canal, yet China is reportedly dreaming even bigger according to the Miami Herald.

Supposedly, the notion of a fourth-set of locks gained traction in 2013 during a ports conference in Bogota, Colombia, when Panama Canal Authority marketing and development executive Rodolfo Sabonge verified that the authority was investigating into whether demand could warrant another expansion.

A breakthrough had been realised a year later with a Chinese engineering delegation expressing interest in being part of a project.

The move sends ripples through the shipping industry, with China having already been granted permission to construct a canal through Panama’s neighbour Nicaragua earlier in 2014.

The delegation included Mo Wenhe, chairman of Beijing-based China Harbour Engineering Co, and Wei Hua Wang from the Chinese-Panamanian Office of Business Development, who met recently with canal administrator Jorge Quijano.

“We are exploring our participation in all canal projects, especially in the design, construction and financing of a fourth set of locks,” Wenhe said.

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