(PANAMA CITY) — M/V Cosco Shipping Panama transited the expanded Panama Canal on Sunday, capping the completion of a $5.4 billion project to allow the passage of larger ships and ushering in a new era in global trade, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The new locks allow the passage of neo-Panamax ships measuring 160 feet wide by 1,200 feet long with drafts of 50 feet. The original canal could not accommodate ships that measured more than 106 feet by 965 feet by 39.5 feet. The 984-foot Cosco Shipping Panama was carrying 9,500 containers when it passed through the locks last weekend.
The expansion, a decade in the making, ostensibly makes the canal a more efficient option for freight companies shipping goods from China to the Eastern Seaboard, which is the canal’s most important and lucrative commercial route. But trade experts warn that many U.S. ports are still unprepared to handle the larger ships.
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