Panama Canal Expansion
By www. http://robertgirga.com/RobertGirga/
The nearly century old Panama Canal is getting another two sets of locks.
Locks that will allow substantially large boats to pass are being constructed on the Atlantic and Pacific ends of the canal.
This project will allow huge boats (cape size vessels) to pass through the Panama Canal instead of rounding the tip of South America.
Traffic through the canal is expected to double, bringing more income from tolls, more work, more jobs, and more prosperity to Panama.
In fact, ports along the entire eastern face of the Americas are upgrading with larger docking facilities and cranes
in order to offload cargo from the huge vessels that will soon be arriving from Buenos Aires to Mobile to Newark.
The new state of the art Panama Canal locks will have three chambers each and each chamber will have three water reutilization basins
in order to avoid excess loss of water from the canal’s central passage as ships come and go.
In addition to the new locks ACP, the administrative authority of the canal, is widening and deepening existing navigation channels
in both entrances to the canal, the central passage of Lake Gatun, and the Culebra Cut
(a passage cut through Panama’s central mountain range).
Four dry excavation projects are required to connect the new Pacific side locks with the central navigation channel to the Culebra Cut.
This $5 Billion plus project is partly funded by foreign loans and partly by tolls from the profitable Panama Canal.
Panama assumed full control of canal operations at the end of 1999.
It converted Panama Canal operations from a public utility model to a for-profit model
and pumps far more than a billion dollars into the Panama economy every year.
In fact, a billion goes to the Panama treasury directly
aside from taxes paid by canal employees, profits from being a transportation hub, and more.
Since Panama took over canal transits are faster and more efficient,
profits are up, and ACP was able to secure loans of around $3 Billion to start the Panama Canal expansion project.
Panama was in many ways a colony of the USA for much of the 20th century.
President Roosevelt wanted a means of projecting US naval power efficiently into both the Atlantic and Pacific
and saw a Panama Canal a means of moving ships back and forth.
The US guaranteed the independence of Panama, newly free from Colombia,
in return for a ten mile wide and fifty mile long stretch of land where they built a canal.
After two world wars in which the Panama Canal served its military purpose
the US military came to see the canal as a liability instead of an asset
and then secretary of state Henry Kissinger negotiated the general terms for passing the canal to Panama.
These terms were codified under the Carter administration with the Torrijos-Carter Treaties.