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  June 17th, 2016 | Written by

Panama Canal’s Chartered Training Vessel Transits New Locks

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  • Anticipation and excitement grows as June 26 inauguration of expanded Panama Canal approaches.
  • Dry bulk carrier MN Baroque transited the new Agua Clara locks of Panama Canal.
  • Once inaugurated on June 26, the expanded canal will double the waterway's cargo capacity.

The Panama Canal’s chartered vessel transited the new Atlantic-facing Agua Clara Locks today. These transits, performed by the neopanamax dry bulk carrier MN Baroque, are part of a series of a long-planned training events occurring in the run-up to the expanded canal’s June 26 Inauguration.

The vessel, which arrived in Panama this week, has a length of 255 meters and a beam of 43 meters, and was contracted by the Panama Canal to perform multiple lockages through the expanded locks for testing and training.

This is taking place in parallel to training being conducted at the canal’s training facilities: the Center for Simulation, Research and Maritime Development (SIDMAR) and the Scale Model Maneuvering Training Facility.

Once inaugurated on June 26, the expanded canal will double the waterway’s cargo capacity, enhancing the canal’s efficiency, reliability and customer service. The new waterway will provide greater economies of scale to global commerce, as neopanamax vessels will be able to transit through due to expansion.

Since Neopanamax vessels and new segments, such as liquefied natural gas, can now take advantage of the canal’s benefits, new routes, liner services and other maritime changes are expected to emerge. The existing canal serves more than 144 maritime routes, connecting 160 countries and 1,700 ports across the world.

The Panama Canal expansion project is the largest construction project undertaken in the waterway since its opening in 1914. The expansion includes construction of a new set of locks on both the Atlantic and Pacific sides and multiple dredging projects to create a second lane of traffic along the canal. The new locks are much wider and deeper than the current locks (180 feet versus 110 feet and 60 feet versus 42 feet) and recycle nearly 60 percent of the water used per lockage with water-savings Basins.