After the Suez Canal in 1869 Viscount Frenchman Ferdinand Lesseps dreamed of a larger project: the Panama Canal. Lesspes decided to cut a path across the isthmus of Panama in order to unite the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean. He knew that a trip around South America would be useless for vessels transporting cargo around the world.
Extravagant project finally became reality, but during the execution process it stole over 25,000 lives, and had to go 25 years for the two oceans to be united. Panama Canal has a length of 80 km and its balance due to lock a difference of 26 m. An area with a width of 8 km that covers both sides of the canal was leased U.S. territory until 1978, but today it is administered Panama, U.S. being forced to return to the 31 December 1999, Republic of Panama.
Canal is to be extended because modern ships are too large to penetrate easily. In addition, the ability to transit the canal is far exceeded, and boats must wait in endless lines for their turn to cross the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific and vice versa. At present, capacity is 4,000 crossing point type Panamax container. After expansion, this number will grow to 10,000. Docks will be extended and access will become wider and deeper. Docks are now 33 meters wide and will be increased to 50 meters. Will open a third line crossing, the heaviest traffic.
There are also voices that say that no such changes will not suffice and that would be necessary to build additional terminals of goods on both sides of the channel. Transformation costs to be covered by increasing the transit fee, plus a loan worth 2.3 billion dollars. The Panama Canal transit 5% of freight traffic in the world. Channel is used mainly by the United States, Japan, China and Chile.
By Maria Morari
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