Entry Through Panama Canal into Gatun Lake
Photos below cover our early morning entry through the New Panama Canal. This new 3 lock section of the Panama Canal (Panama Canal expansion project) was opened in June 2016. This expansion doubled the capacity of the Panama Canal by adding a new lane of traffic allowing for a larger number of ships, and increasing the width and depth of the lanes and locks allowing larger ships to pass. The new ships, called New Panamax, are about one and a half times the previous Panamax size and can carry over twice as much cargo. The new locks use tugboats to position the vessels instead of electric locomotives. It takes a total of 8-10 hours to travel through the entire Panama Canal route (51 miles)
The goals of this expansion was to:
- Built two new sets of locks, one each on the Atlantic and Pacific sides, and excavated new channels to the new locks.
- Widened and deepened existing channels.
- Raise the maximum operating water level of Gatun Lake.
Interesting Trivia – Only Panama Canal Pilots working with the Panama Canal Authority are able to captain a boat through the Panama Canal. When a ship enters the canal, they are boarded by a pilot, who has full control over the boat until it exits the canal.
Travelling through (and return) of this new section of the Panama Canal was definitely the highlight of our cruise!
Tug Boat Guiding Us Through the New Panama Canal
Gallery – Entry Through Panama Canal
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