Cargo volumes shipped through the expanded Panama Canal during its first year of operations have grown more than 20%, marking a sizeable shift in global trade.
With Monday marking the one-year anniversary of the Panama Canal’s expansion, the body managing the waterway says most expectations have been exceeded and several milestones set.
The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) notes that since the inauguration of the new third locks on June 26, 2016, more than 1,500 neopanamax vessels have transited the inter-oceanic passage.
At a cost of $5.5bn, the expansion project’s main purpose was to keep the canal competitive by being able to accommodate the new massively large container vessels.
The new locks are 70 ft wider and 18 ft deeper than in the original canal.
ACP says the canal’s cargo tonnage has increased by 22.2% during its first year of operations.
All vessels that transit the canal on Monday will receive a commemorative first-anniversary plaque, the ACP says.