COSCO Vessel Sets Sail to Make History in Panama

The Neopanamax container vessel COSCO Shipping Panama has set sail from the Greek Port of Piraeus on its way to Panama where it will make the inaugural transit of the Expanded Panama Canal on June 26, after a 14-day journey.

Constructed and launched in January 2016, Cosco Shipping Panama is 299.98 meters in length and 48.25 meters in beam, and has a maximum container carrying capacity of 9,472 TEUs.

Originally named Andronikos, the vessel was renamed by China COSCO Shipping as it was selected during a draw for the inaugural transit through the expanded waterway.

During the inauguration, COSCO Shipping Panama, which was built in Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries Co., Ltd, will transit Agua Clara Locks on the Atlantic side during the early morning and Cocoli Locks in the afternoon.

The regular schedule of transits through the Expanded Panama Canal is expected to follow the next day, June 27.

The Panama Canal began accepting transit bookings for Neopanamax vessels for commercial transits through the Expanded Canal on April 18, 2016. The canal will offer four additional slots per day for Neopanamax vessels, in addition to the existing 25 slots for the existing canal.

The first commercial transit reservation was granted to a 230-meter long liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tanker Linden Pride of Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK Line).

On June 9, the Panama Canal’s contracted vessel, the 2011-built Neopanamax dry bulk carrier MN Baroque, started testing the new Atlantic-facing Agua Clara Locks as a part of a series of training events scheduled to take place before the canal’s inauguration.

The 114,248 dwt vessel was hired to perform multiple lockages through the expanded locks for testing and training purposes for 30 days.

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