Above: the Panama Canal (Photo: Panama Tourism)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Progress on the expansion of the Panama Canal was at 48.9 percent through November, the Panama Canal Authority announced in a press release Monday.
The report came as the Canal celebrated 13 years under Panamanian administration.
“The Panama Canal reaffirms its relevance in international commerce more than ever as a result of the decisions and actions that Panamanians have taken with regard to its management,” said Panama Canal Administrator Jorge Luis Quijano.
The expansion project, which will allow for a new lane of traffic along the canal and the transit of so-called super ships, first began in 2007.
After five years, the Authority said 28,690 direct jobs had been created. On Sept. 20, the Canal awarded contracts totaling $4.3 billion.
Several components are already completed on the project, including dredging works at the Panama Canal entrances on the Pacific and Atlantic sides.
The excavation of the Pacific locks access channel has completed 76.5 percent of its project.
The expansion, which is slated for completion in 2015, has drawn the attention of the Caribbean — particularly Jamaica, which is looking to develop a transshipment hub to capitalize on the increased flow of ships.