The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) announced that the first-ever expansion is 96 percent complete.
ACP CEO/Administrator Jorge L. Quijano provided a next-step update at an industry event Friday in Panama City.
The key points:
Locks reinforcements are scheduled to be completed mid-January 2016.
Testing of locks reinforcements and additional testing will occur next.
In April, transit trial tests with a chartered vessel in the Atlantic locks will occur (following conversations with GUPC).
A date for the expansion’s inauguration will be then be selected, expected to be in the second quarter of 2016. Subsequently, the commercial opening date will be selected. The opening will be soon after the inauguration.
The ACP is building the expanded Canal for the long haul, and quality and testing are critical. The ACP will continue to provide updates on the project as more progress and information is made available.