During fiscal year 2014 (Oct. 1, 2013 to Sept. 30, 2014), the Panama Canal invested approximately US$171m in the upkeep of various structures and equipment, including the dredging of the navigation channel; the control of erosion and landslides; maintenance of floating equipment such as tugboat, dredges, cranes and launches; and maintenance of locks and their components, as well as the dams, landfills, power plants, buildings and facilities.
Since 1999, $2.4bn has been invested in projects aimed at updating the Canal’s operational infrastructure including the introduction of new equipment, to offer a safe, reliable and competitive service.
The Panama Canal Expansion, including the construction of a new set of locks to increase the Canal’s transit capacity, is 85% complete.
The first tests in the new locks are expected to take place at the end of this year to be ready for commercial transits in the first quarter of 2016.
The Panama Canal Board of Directors this week formally approved the development and construction of a transshipment port in Corozal. Upon completion, the port will have the capacity to handle more than 5m TEUs within a 120-hectare area at the Canal’s entrance to the Pacific.
To further enhance its training capacity, the Panama Canal is building a new manned model training center. The center will include two lakes and 1:25 scale ships to simulate transits to the expanded waterway.
In addition, the Panama Canal will charter a Post-Panamax ship to train pilots and tugboat captains that will assist in transits through the new lane. The vessel will be used several months in advance of the opening of the expanded Canal to test the new locks.
In 2014, the waterway commemorated its 100-year anniversary.