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55 ships pass through new locks in first month after expansion of Panama Canal

55 ships pass through new locks in first month after expansion of Panama Canal

The passage of 55 vessels through the new third set of locks of the Panama Canal during the first month after its expansion has brought in 20 million U.S. dollars of revenue for the canal authority.

(Soundbite) Jorge Luis Quijano, Administrator of Panama Canal Administrator (ACP)
“In the upcoming 2 to 3 months, we still expect an average of two ships per day (to transit the new locks). This is very well within our plan, even a little more than we had expected for the first months after the expansion.”

The 9-year expansion cost 5.25 billion U.S. dollars, featuring the third set of locks connecting the Pacific and the Atlantic coasts.

(Soundbite) Jorge Luis Quijano, Administrator of Panama Canal Administrator (ACP)
“From now to September 30, 130 vessels have already booked and 119 of them are container ships. This is good and contributes significantly, much more than the other segments.”

The new locks are 180 feet wide and 1,400 feet long, designed for New Panamax-class vessel, which can carry 13,000 to 14,000 containers, about 2.5 to 3 times those of current ones.

(Soundbite) Jorge Luis Quijano, Administrator of Panama Canal Administrator (ACP)
“Those showing stronger are of Asia. It seems that they made decisions earlier and relied on our
Inauguration date of June 26. … But we are already seeing some Europeans who are planning to
use our service sites in the future.”

With the expansion of the canal’s width and depth, the traffic volume will get tripled, further boosting the 1 billion U.S. dollars that the Panamanian government collects each year from its operation.

(Soundbite) Jorge Luis Quijano, Administrator of Panama Canal Administrator (ACP)
“We are still working. I first focused on completing the expansion. We now focus on finding customers and we are bringing them in. This is the most important thing, and we will go out and find customers to come here.”

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