Photo by Juliette Passer
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
PANAMA CITY (Reuters) - On Sunday, Panama Canal Administrator Jorge Quijano said the locks would likely be ready, holding water, by April or May of next year.
The 100-year-old canal, which is major global trade artery, is in the midst of a massive expansion that will allow the world's largest tankers to pass through the isthmus.
Tests with ships will begin in mid-2015 on a new set of locks that are a key component of an expansion of the Panama Canal, the waterway's chief said on Sunday.
The expansion, which involves building a third set of locks onto the 50-mile (80-km) waterway, was originally scheduled to be completed this year, but has been delayed several times, in part due to a dispute earlier this year because of about $1.6 billion in cost overruns.
The deadline for completion is now January 2016.
"We hope to start a series of tests with the locks next year in the month of July or August," Quijano said after overseeing the arrival from Italy of a shipment of four new gates for the locks.