COSCO chief hails Panama Canal expansion, sure of future trade

COSCO Shipping Panama, a vessel belonging to China COSCO Shipping Corporation, sails down the expanded Panama Canal in the morning of June 26, becoming the first ship to mark its official opening.

(Soundbite) Xu Lirong, Chairman of China COSCO Shipping Corporation
“The expanded canal will help us gain more competitiveness and downsize costs. Without the expansion, the canal can only accommodate a vessel capable of loading 4,000 to 6,000 containers with its weight not surpassing 70,000 tonnes. Currently, it can handle a ship loaded with 14,000 containers.”

The United States and China are now the top two users of the canal, which already handles around 6 percent of global trade transportation.

(Soundbite) Xu Lirong, Chairman of China COSCO Shipping Corporation
“When big ships transported oil from Venezuela to China, it could not use the Panama Canal and must take detour which used to take around 45 days. Now, with the canal expanded, it only takes 24 days for big ships to export oil from Venezuela to China.”

Due to its long history of cooperation with the Panama Canal Authority, COSCO is never late to react over the canal’s expansion.

(Soundbite) Xu Lirong, Chairman of China COSCO Shipping Corporation
“We have prepared for the canal expansion for two years by ordering vessels capable of loading 14,000 containers. Our ships will go from the Pacific Ocean to the east coast of the United States through the Panama Canal, thus closely connecting the east and west coasts of the U.S.”

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) Xu Lirong, Chairman of China COSCO Shipping Corporation
“The new set of locks shortens the traffic time and downsizes the cost. It is very competitive. I believe it will boost China’s overseas trade.”

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