(FERNDALE, Wash.) — The 2016 expansion of the Panama Canal locks shortens the passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean by 9,000 miles for vessels that exceed the size limits of the old locks. This is a welcome alternative to “going ‘round the horn” through the Straits of Magellan, or cartage operations from coast to coast. For vessels from Asia heading to the East Coast of the United States, it significantly shortens transit times compared to the alternate route through the Suez Canal. With container and bulk carrier vessels growing larger with each generation, the need for expanding the locks has evolved, and the effect on global shipping has been immense.
New regulations for the locks also mandated that mooring lines be upgraded; steel wire ropes are not allowed on vessels transiting the new locks.
“K” Line LNG Shipping (UK) currently manages eight liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers, some of which needed to be equipped to maintain their ability to trade efficiently anywhere in the world. Compliance with the Panama Canal Authority mandate was critical. All KLNG UK vessels with steel-wire mooring lines and the potential to transit the canal were retrofit with Samson high-performance AmSteel-Blue synthetic mooring lines. The two newbuild vessels KLNG UK will manage are also to be Panama compliant. Their HMPE mooring ropes have recently been approved to be upgraded to AmSteel-Blue from the proposed yard supply.
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