Panama Canal opens

By Joe Malone27 June 2016

The Panama Canal expansion officially opened on Sunday 26 June.

The canal, considered to be the world's largest civil works at the time, reached its conclusion after nine years marked by contract disputes and potential competition from neighbouring countries.

The route was presented on Sunday by the consortium Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC), which was hired by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) in 2007. The mega-project will allow ships of up to 13,000 TEU (container size standard) to pass through the channel. Before its completion, only ships of less than half this capacity could cross the waterway.

The project cost some US$ 5.4 billion in total.

In August 2014, an agreement was reached between GUPC and the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) following their contract dispute, which the two parties said would allow the completion of the canal expansion project.

Following the agreement, the project was said to be completed by December 2015.

However, in October 2015, the project was said to be 95% completed, with a finishing date set for April this year.

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