Chinese ship makes inaugural transit across expanded Panama Canal

Updated: 2016-06-27 00:01

By Amy He in Panama City(China Daily USA)

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Chinese ship makes inaugural transit across expanded Panama Canal

COSCO SHIPPING chairman Xu Lirong speaking with the media as the company's vessel makes it across the newly expanded Panama Canal. Xu said that the expansion embodies the industry's efforts to follow the "trend of megaships amongst the background fo globalization". AMY HE / CHINA DAILY

Though the number of ship transits through the Panama Canal increased 3.7 percent last year compared to the year prior, increase in cargo had grown only 1 percent compared to the 7 percent previously, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The canal had also lost about 10 to 15 percent of annual revenue to the Suez Canal in Egypt and authorities hope that they can win back shipping lines that switched over to the Suez Canal or used west coast ports in the US, anticipating that revenue will increase 16 percent next year.

The opening of the third lane will shorten the journey that ships take from Asia to the Americas at a time when approximately one-third of all Asia-to-America trade happens through the canal, which was built in the early 20th century by the US.

The expanded canal’s new locks are as tall as an 11-story building and 50 feet wider than the old ones, and can accommodate ships up to 1,200 feet long, 160 feet wide, and 50 feet deep. Water from basins are used to push ships above sea level as it transits through chambers in the canal.

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