Panama Canal Expansion just May Not be Big Enough

Roughly 1 in 50 ships that pass through the Panama Canal suffer damage according to American Shipper. The Panama Canal opened in June 2016 from an expansion project that began in June 2007.

The idea of the newly constructed canal was to allow for larger mega ships to fit through new locks and passage way.  The limit prior to the expansion was only 5,000 TEU.  Now, the Panama Canal allows for ships that hold up to 13,000 TEU, although according to the Associated Press report is still a tight squeeze that is posing problems.

According to American Shipper, a report by the Associated Press, states,

  “With little margin for error, ships are still scraping the walls and prematurely wearing out defenses designed to protect both the vessels and the locks themselves,” the report said.

AP reporters traveled on a recent voyage by a tugboat guiding the containership Ever Living through the canal’s Cocoli locks on the Pacific side of the waterway and found “multiple places where the black rubber cushion defenses were visibly worn down, hanging into the water or missing entirely.”

“In one spot, a pile of dislodged bumpers sat on the side of the locks, apparently waiting to be hauled away,” it added.

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