By repositioning the lighting system along the top of the locks’ chamber walls, the lights now shine down toward the water to provide greater visibility for the largest vessels at night, which have only two feet clearance on each side through the Canal’s lock chambers.
Additional upgrades include a new track and turntable system and a second tie-up station located at Cartagena Hill, which serves as a staging area for northbound (Pacific to Atlantic) ships waiting for southbound ships (Atlantic to Pacific) to transit the Canal. The station enables ships that have passed through the Pedro Miguel Locks to pre-position for the next stage of transit. The Cartagena tie-up station alone allows at least one additional vessel to transit the Canal on a daily basis.
The remaining five of eight new tugboats have been delivered replacing and augmenting the existing fleet. The new units have an output capacity of 4,800 hp and a bollard pull of more than 60 tonnes. Last year another contract for a further 13 new tugboats was awarded to Cheoy Lee, with delivery anticipated delivery date in 2010.