Panama Canal receives third shipment of gates

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The arrival of the new gates (Photo: Juan Cortés D.).

The arrival of the new gates (Photo: Juan Cortés D.).

A third shipment of four gates for the new locks for the Panama Canal Expansion arrived at the Atlantic entrance of the waterway on Sunday on board the Post-Panamax vessel, Xia Zhi Yuan 6, owned by COSCO Ocean Shipping. The shipment began its journey from Trieste, Italy on August 17. The gates will be unloaded onto a special temporary dock until the time they will be set in place at the Pacific side of the Canal.

Two of the gates are 57.6 m long, 10 m wide and 31.92 m high, and weigh 4,163 tons each. These are the heaviest of the 16 rolling gates to be used in the expanded Canal. The other two gates are 57.6 m long, 8 m wide and 22.3 m high, and weigh 2,867 tons each.

The construction of the gates was begun in October 2011 by subcontractor Cimolai SpA. The new locks will have a total of 16 rolling gates (eight for each new lock complex). Unlike the current Canal, which uses miter gates, the expanded Canal will have rolling gates.

The first gate shipment arrived in Panama on August 20, 2013 and the second on June 10, 2014. The final shipment is expected to arrive in January 2015.

Grupo Unidos por el Canal, S.A. (GUPC) is the contractor for the Design and Construction of the Third Set of Locks. All gates must be in Panama by February 2015, as agreed by the ACP and the contractor.

The Panama Canal Expansion is 79 percent complete. Only one shipment is left to receive all 16 gates required for the Third Set of Locks project.


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