‘This is another milestone as it completes half of the 16 gates that will be used in the new locks,’ said the administrator of the Panama Canal Authority, Jorge Luis Quijano.
Following a nearly one-month long journey, the ship completed its second trip that began in mid-May in Trieste, crossing the Gibraltar Strait and the Atlantic Ocean.
Differing from the first shipment, these gates have two different dimensions, according to their final position in the lock chambers.
The taller ones or “Type C” were fabricated for lock head number 3 in the middle chamber of the Pacific locks. They are 57.6mtr long by 10mtr thick and 31.9mtr tall and weigh approximately 3,900 tons, with all internal appurtenances installed. The shorter ones or “Type A” will be located in lock head 1 in the Atlantic site’s upper chamber, adjacent to the lake. They are 57.6mtr long by 8mtr thick and 22.3mtr tall, and weigh approximately 2,300 tons.
The four rolling gates will be disembarked in the dock especially built for this purpose on the Atlantic side.
While the two gates destined for the Atlantic complex will remain in the staging area until the time of their installation, the other two will be transferred to the Pacific site once the installation of the concrete supports is completed in the dock built for their unloading.
Gate fabrication, which started in October 2011, is being conducted by Italian subcontractor Cimolai SpA.
The new locks will operate with a redundant rolling gate system, with a total of 16 gates. The first shipment of rolling gates arrived in Panama on August 20, 2013. The third shipment, with two Type C and two Type F rolling gates is scheduled to arrive in Canal waters in October of this year.
Grupo Unidos por el Canal is the contractor responsible for the design and construction of the Third Set of Locks. Following an agreement signed between the contractor and the Panama Canal Authority, all rolling gates must be in Panama by February 2015.
At end-May, 2014 the expansion program was 76.3% complete.