The Panama Canal Expansion

By Anish A.

Recently the first lock gate for the Panama Canal expansion arrived. The Panama Canal expansion is due for finish somewhere between 2015-2016 with a budget of $5.25 billion. The expansion will double the canal’s capacity. The Panama Canal was actually built by the United States of America. Construction was started on the Panama Canal in 1904 after a treaty was signed between the U.S. and the Panamanian government, more specifically the French businessman Philippe Bunau-Varilla. This treaty was called the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty. The Canal was finished in 1914. When it was finished the U.S. owned a big piece of land across the isthmus of Panama. There were many conflicts concerning how the U.S. owned a bunch of land inside Panama. Those conflicts led to Jimmy Carter signing a treaty with the Panamanian government giving 60% of the “canal area” back to the Panamanian government. In the current expansion a new set of locks will be placed on both sides (Pacific and Atlantic) of the Canal. The current expansion is delayed because when the Panamanian government first announced that they were going to expand the Panama Canal they projected they would be done by 2014. According to multiple sources the canal is 80% done and one of those sources also says the new sets of locks are 77% complete. The Panama Canal is being expanded to meet the current day ship industry needs. They widened the lanes of the canal and created a new lane so bigger ships can get through the Canal. In 2007 alone 14,721 vessels carrying 313 million tons of goods passed through the Canal. After the expansion of the canal, it will be capable of holding up to 600 million tons of goods. Many expansions are happening to the Panama Canal the end result will hopefully bring $6 billion dollars to Panama as it has projected.