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In Pictures: Panama Canal Gate Change

A recent post by the Panama Canal shows a 10-photo sequence on how to change a Panama Canal lock gate.

The Panama Canal is currently working through its expansion programme which is due to be completed in early 2016.

It has been rumoured that the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) is to spend around US$17bn on a re-expansion that would add a fourth set of locks, thereby allowing the world’s largest ships to transit the canal.

(Image source: ACP)

However, the ACP have since quelled those rumours, stating that it is too soon to act on such a massive project.

The most recent April update of the expansion articulated that the project is now in the electro-mechanical phase of installation, which will allow the Panama Canal be brought into the final stage of development.

The third set of locks were constructed to widen the canal’s waterway and allow post-Panamax ships of around 13,000 TEU to sail through.

Although a massive increase from the 5,000 TEU ships that were previously able to transit, the Panama Canal is still at threat of losing business to the Suez Canal, whose current expansion project is due to be completed in July, 2015.

The Hong Kong-funded proposed Nicaragua Canal is also a potential threat to the Panama, as it claims to be around 3.5 times bigger once completed in 2020.

Despite such claims, Jorges Luis Quijano, Adminstrator of ACP, recently said that Chinese state companies are not interested in funding the Nicaragua Canal.

The Panama Canal currently ranks first for container movements in Latin America and owns ports on both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

Progress of the expansion project has now reached 88% completion.

Talks of a new toll structure have been discussed by the ACP to be implemented once the Panama Canal is fully-operational.

The Panama Canal currently takes 15 hours to transit, more than half of which is spent waiting in traffic.