New lock tested for Panama Canal

The 101-year-old Panama Canal Monday undertook another expansion with its new Pacific lock Cocoli filled with water, part of a general expansion project with 89.8 percent finished to date.

(Soundbite) Jorge Luis Quijano, Administrator of Panama Canal
“The valves and seals are going to be tested, once that process is finished, we will follow with the next step, which is to fill up the inferior chamber completely, to do some filtration or leakage tests on the seals, and if some adjustments are necessary, we can do it, right away.”

Each electric pump for the new lock could provide 30,000 gallons of water per minute, while an additional network of more than a dozen diesel pumps could supply 7,000 gallons of water per minute each.

(Soundbite) Giuseppe Quarta, Technician of Panama Canal
“Actually I am very cautious in giving dates because this is a very complex project with many variables. But I think we are on the track. At the beginning of next year boats can pass.”

The 82-kilometer-long canal connects the Pacific and the Atlantic, working as one of the most crucial navigation routes for global logistics.

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