First Container Vessel Transits Through The New Panama Canal Locks

Posted on Jun 28

With a lot of fanfare and fireworks the first commercial transit of the new Panama Canal locks was completed by the “Cosco Shipping Panama”, a 9,400 TEU vessel that made a Atlantic-to-Pacific transit coming from Greece.
After 9 years and a cost of about $ 5.4 Billion, the Panama Canal expansion has been finished and the waterway connecting the Pacific with the Atlantic Ocean is now open for vessels with a capacity of up to 13,000 TEU (neo-Panamax class). It can now be used especially for Trans-Pacific services to Gulf and East Coast ports in the US. The 13,000 TEU capacity represents a 2 ½ capacity increase compared to the old locks that date back to 1914.
The Panama Canal authority hopes to attract larger size vessels that so far used the Suez Canal due to the size restrictions of the old locks. Several carriers have already announced to switch routings from the Suez to the Panama Canal again.
85% of the 17 reserved transits in the next three months are for container ships, with the rest mainly being liquefied natural gas tankers and other vessels.