Panama Canal’s Final Gate Moves into Place
The last of 16 gates of the Panama Canal’s new locks has been installed today, 28 April marking a key milestone in the expansion project.
The installation process began at 12:00 PM (Panama Time) on the south end of the Canal’s Pacific locks, which connect directly to the ocean.
“Today’s installation is a key milestone in the Expansion Program and another important step forward for the Canal,” said Administrator Jorge L. Quijano. “Once finished, the expanded waterway will provide new possibilities for world maritime trade and further position the Canal as a reliable route to the industry.”
Manufactured in Italy, the new gates first arrived in Panama in four staggered shipments starting in August of 2013.
With the installation of the final gate today in the Pacific, another important stage begins with the electro-mechanical work, which connects the gates with the other structures in the new locks.
The gate measures 57.6 meters in width by 10 meters in length and 33 meters in height. Moreover, weighing 4,232 tonnes, it is the heaviest gate in the locks.
The installation of the eight rolling gates on the Atlantic side of the canal concluded on April 1st.
The next major step in the expansion project will be flooding of the lock chambers, before moving forward with the first tests of operation.
The expansion project is 87.6% complete.
The USD 5.2 billion expansion project is slated for completion in December 2015.
World Maritime News Staff