San Francisco: The Panama Canal’s multibillion-dollar expansion began an important phase towards it completion on Tuesday with the installation of the final one of 16 giant lock gates.
As the 4,232-ton rolling gate at the Pacific Ocean entrance to the waterway was put in place in Cocoli it meant the most critical part of the expansion can start in the coming weeks: the flooding of the locks.
Back in 2006 Panama committed to widening the canal to make it able to take ships capable of carrying 2.5 times as many containers as the previous norm. Now nine years on that plan is ready to bear fruit.
The construction of new locks will allow the passage of Post-Panamax vessels or container ships much too big to fit through the Canal’s old locks.
The expansion has been plagued by quarrels over cost overruns with European builders. Such delays caused its opening to be postponed by a year to April 2016.