Panama Canal Unveil Winner for First Expansion Transit


China COSCO Shipping has won the draw for the first transit through the expanded Panama Canal during the waterway's inauguration on Sunday, June 26, 2016.

The shipping line's 9,400-TEU container vessel Andronikos will be making the inaugural transit.

This follows a recent announcement made by PTI that the ship ‘Italy’ was the first vessel to transit the new locks during the testing phase located on the Pacific side and sailed using simulation.

More than 100 Neopanamax ships have already made reservations for commercial transit through the new locks, which will begin on June 27, 2016, following the historic inauguration.

The draw took place at the Panama Canal Administration Building, in which a Notary Public served as witness, among invited attendees.

Technical Paper: The Third Lock Expansion

The Norwegian/Swedish shipping line Wallenius Wilhemsen Lines (WWL) and the Chinese shipping line China COSCO Shipping participated in the draw. 

Jorge L. Quijano, Administrator of the Panama Canal, said: “It is a great honour to have one of our top customers celebrate this historical moment with us. We are excited and prepared to continue providing the same reliable and efficient service within the Expanded Panama Canal that our customers have come to expect through the years.”

The draw was carried out with ballots labelled with the name of each participant. The first ballot was chosen and given to the Notary Public, who opened and handed it to the Administrator, who announced the winner of the draw.

Technical Paper: The Panama Canal: The Early Years

Directly following the announcement, a second ballot was chosen for the shipping line – in this case WWL – that will deploy a vessel for the inaugural transit in the event that the winner informs the Panama Canal by May 10, 2016 that it will not be able to deploy an approved vessel.

The winner will incur in all costs associated with the transit, including booking fees and other marine services, which will be charged in accordance with Panama Canal published tariffs.

The Panama Canal invited its top customers to participate in the draw. Of the invited customers, those interested in participating were required to indicate the Neopanamax vessel's name, type and dimensions that it planned to deploy on the inauguration day of the Expanded Canal.

The Executive Vice Presidency for Operations verified that each submission complied with the Panama Canal's requirements.

The proposed vessels were required to not surpass a maximum beam of 49 metres and a maximum overall length of 366 metres.

In addition, the maximum draft or point of immersion for the inaugural transit is 12.5 metres.

The Panama Canal began accepting transit bookings for Neopanamax vessels for commercial transits through the Expanded Canal on April 18, 2016, which will begin on June 27, 2016.

The canal will offer four additional slots per day for Neo-panamax vessels, in addition to the existing 25 slots for the existing canal.

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