Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Panama Canal Gates Installed in Readiness for Ocean Freight Vessels of (Almost) Every Size

Picture Worth a Thousand Words as Three Thousand Tonne Pieces Installed
Shipping News Feature

PANAMA – We here at the Handy Shipping Guide love a good picture but today's truly stands out with the installation of the first gate for the new locks on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal. Expected to be completed in the next couple of days, the steel gates are moved using self-propelled motorised wheel transporters (SPMTs) with more than 400 wheels each. Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano, said:

"This is a very important milestone for the Expansion Programme. We see how the new locks are rapidly taking shape as we move towards the successful completion of the project."

The gate currently being installed in lock head two, stands at a towering 30 metres high and weighing no less than 3,200 tonnes. In total, the new locks will have 16 rolling gates, eight in the Pacific and eight in the Atlantic. Note the size of the figures in the picture giving some idea of scale.

The Canal expansion project, now over 84% complete, involves widening the channel and adding a third set of locks, one set on the Pacific and the other on the Atlantic side. The new locks require 16 gates which when complete will increase efficiency and allow larger post-Panamax ships and extended width barges to travel through the Canal, likely resulting in a higher volume of containerised and non-containerised, break bulk and project shipments passing through the important waterway.

To see full sized photographs of this stage of the project click links 1 and 2 here.