Each one of the 16 gates required will weight an average of 3,300 tons. Constructed in Italy by subcontractor Cimolai S.p.A, they will be unloaded in the Atlantic side of the Canal and rolled off the ship to a specially constructed reception dock.
The new lock complexes in the Pacific and Atlantic sides will feature three chambers, three water-saving basins per chamber, a lateral filling and emptying system and steel rolling gates instead of the current miter gates.
“The Panama Canal Expansion will enhance the value of the Panama route,” Canal administrator Jorge Quijano said. “We are focused on the Third Set of Locks project, which is one of the key projects of the Expansion Program.”
Both canal entrances are ready for bigger ships, since the deepening and widening of the Atlantic and Pacific access channels have been completed. The dredging of Gatun Lake should be finished by the end of this year.
The Pacific Access Channel has reached the design depth and the dam that will divide the new channel from Miraflores Lake is under construction.
Additionally, June saw the arrival of three of the 14 new tugboats that will enhance the current fleet.
The expansion involves the construction of a third lane of traffic, which will double the Canal’s capacity.