The President of the Republic of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, on Sunday presided over the inauguration of the Canal Expanded to more than 20,000 people, who gathered the locks of Agua Clara and Cocolí, for which transited the ship Cosco Shipping Panama. The Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Isabel de Saint Malo de Alvarado also participated in this historic event.
The ship, nearly 300 meters long, 48 meters wide and 9,472 TEUs capacity, under Captain Jude Rodrigues, set sail from the Greek port of Piraeus 14 days ago. Captain received from the President Varela, the administrator of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), Jorge Quijano and members of the Board of the ACP, a plaque for the first transit.
During his speech, Varela called all Panamanians feel proud of this celebration. "The only flag that should always wave in the Panama Canal is the Panamanian," he told about 5,000 people in Colon.
Subsequently, the President, members of the board of the ACP, Heads of State invited and about 15 thousand people witnessed the entry of the Chinese vessel to Locks Cocolí.
With the new system, the ships will be operated by pilots of the Canal, with the assistance of tugs within the chambers.
The Canal expansion work, which began on September 3, 2007 and an investment of 5,250 million dollars, double the current capacity to a maximum of 13 000 TEUs and reduce the global costs of shipping.
The new locks measuring 427 meters long (1,400 feet), 55 meters wide (180 feet) and has a depth of 18.3 meters (60 feet). They allow crossing ships of 366 meters (unos1.200 feet) in length, 49 meters (160 feet) wide and 15.2 meters deep.
Between 35 and 40 ships pass daily through the Panama Canal, estimated moves six percent of world maritime trade.
From noon 1999, the Republic of Panama, through the ACP, assumed full responsibility for the management, operation and maintenance of the waterway, open to the world in 1914 after the maiden voyage of the steamship Ancon.