Execution of work on expansion of the Panama Canal, which formally began on
September 3, 2007, is 43% complete, it has been reported, If the contractor building the third set of locks is unable to complete this in October 2014 as initially planned, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) reported that the project will be ready in April, 2015. In the case of the construction of the two new sets of locks, the progress is 29%.
The Executive Vice-president of Engineering and Program Management, Ilya Espino de Marotta, explained that the implementation schedule date for project completion is October 2014. Adjustments were made to this projection due to delays related to construction of the new locks.
This information was revealed during a visit to the Canal by Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli, who explained to news media representatives on the tour that this work will allow transit by larger ships through the Canal, and it could be ready in late 2014. “Maybe it can vary by a few months or so,” he said.
President Martinelli said he was pleased to have always supported a project like this. “I supported it even when I was in the politcal opposition, because you have to support the government in the things you think it is doing right.”
Currently the major advancements of the Panama Canal expansion program are: the Pacific access channel (74%), dredging the Pacific entrance (90%), the dredging of Gatun Lake and the Gaillard Cut (74%), design and construction of Locks (30%), dredging the Atlantic entrance (98%) and increasing the maximum operating level of Gatun Lake (8%).
Parallel to this, the Panama Canal administration, from 2000 to 2012, has given direct contributions to the national treasury that total $6,576.3 million.
Also during fiscal 2011, the Panama Canal had record revenue and the largest movement in tons in its history, which reaffirms the value of the Panama route for world trade and the success of the model designed by management to manage the Panamanian strategic resource of the country.
The 322.1 million tons recorded at the end of fiscal 2011 represented an increase of 7.1% compared to 300.8 million tons recorded in fiscal 2010, while it exceeded the previous record of 312.9 million tons set in 2007 by 2.9%.
As an example of the impact the enlargement of the Panama Canal is making in the world, multiple ports on the East and Gulf Coasts of the United States are adapting their facilities for larger ships that will be able to pass through the Canal and arrive on the US coasts. These cities are the focus of the US’s largest population and consumption.
During the tour, the President was accompanied by Minister of Canal Affairs Romulo Roux, Executive Secretary of the Panama Metro, Robert Roy, the designated administrator of the Panama Canal, Jorge Quijano, the current administrator of the Panama Canal, Alberto Aleman Zubieta, in addition to representatives of contractors and government spokesmen.
This post is also available in: Spanish