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Widened Panama Canal to open for water trial


Panama City: Water will start rushing into the newly expanded Panama Canal in one area that was widened, ahead of the waterway’s April 2016 re-inauguration. The Panama Canal Authority said that the area around the new Agua Fria locks in Gatun, on the Atlantic coast,

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has been chosen for the preliminary tests. According to the builders Association Grupo Unidos Por el Canal(GUPC), it would take three to five months duration for completely filling up the first lock. GUPC is carrying out the extensive up-gradation to the canal’s system of locks, for enabling the waterway to accommodate ships carrying up to 14,000 containers of freight, which is triple the current size. The process of up-gradation which began in 2007, was scheduled to be completed in 2014, during the 100th anniversary of the canal. But there had been repeated delays during the work processing and this prevented the project from achieving a regular development. With the tremendous delay, the cost of the mega-project has so far hit some $5.25 billion. The Panama Canal is a 77.1-kilometer long ship canal in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean. The canal cuts across the Isthmus of Panama and is a key waterway for international maritime trade. As per the marine transportation analysis, about five percent of global maritime trade passes through the Panama Canal. Its biggest users are the United States and China. Last year, Nicaragua has launched construction of an ambitious $50 billion rival canal that could handle even larger ships. It is set to be completed within five years.   Video on ship service through Panama Canal