The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has announced that the long-awaited expansion project of the canal has reached 96 percent completion.
According to ACP CEO/Administrator Jorge L. Quijano, reinforcements of cracked locks detected in August this year are scheduled to be completed mid-January 2016, as assured by the project’s contractor Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC). This will be followed by testing of locks reinforcements and additional testing in February.
The ACP plans to test a chartered vessel in the Atlantic locks (following conversations with GUPC) in April, which means that the official inauguration of the project has been pushed back again, as World Maritime News reported earlier.
The date for the inauguration ceremony is yet to be selected, however it is expected to be in the second quarter of 2016. This will be followed by the commercial opening of the expanded canal.
“We are very close—only four percent remains to complete the project,” Quijano said. “An expansion of the Panama Canal has never been done and we should all feel very good about where we are today.”
“After a successful year, we look forward to being able to provide the benefits of the new Canal to our customers and the people of Panama.”
The new locks will allow for the passage of between 10 and 12 Neopanamax vessels in approximately 40 daily transits through the Panama Canal.