The expansion of Panama Canal joining the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans has been going on continuously since the work began 38 months ago.
The canal expansion is expected to be completed by 2014, the waterway’s 100-year anniversary.
The project is being carried out by Grupo Unidos por el Canal, a consortium led by Spain’s Sacyr Vallehermoso construction company.
A key part of the canal expansion is the construction of floodgates in the Pacific and the Atlantic, which will allow the biggest ships to pass by the canal. The work is expected to be completed in 2012 and 2013.
The new floodgates, which work as big aquatic elevators for the ships, will be four times the size of a soccer field, allowing the passage of post-Panamax vessels, which have a cargo capacity of 12,000 containers.
The canal, designed in 1904 to accommodate ships 267 metres in length and 28 metres wide, is too small to handle the post-Panamax ships that are three times as big, making it necessary to expand by building a new set of docks.
Through the expansion, the ACP aims to double the transit capacity of the 80-kilometre canal, which currently handles about five percent of world trade.