viernes, 8 de agosto de 2014
The Panama Canal expansion project would largely decrease the instances of bottlenecks, lower the average transit times by rendering raised capacity and allow for transit of Post-Panamax vessels. The proposed plan for widening and deepening and excavating is supposed to increase the capacity to 42 vessels per day, which could even be extended to 51 vessels per day by 2020. By widening the Gaillard Cut, increasing the locomotive fleet from 80 to 100 units, and acquiring more robust tugs the average canal waters time could be significantly reduced.
Increased daily transits, faster transit times and allowance of more tonnage would also make way for increasing toll revenue. Given its level of cost effectiveness, international shippers and traders would be more enthusiastic about choosing the Panama Canal instead of the multimodal route, the Cape Horn Route, or the Suez Canal for transporting goods by large cargo vessels. With an estimated annual growth of container cargo commerce of 8.4%, the Panama Canal expansion and its augmented demand for the trade route, would inevitably contribute to the increased economic activity.
This August 14th, The Panama Canal is celebrating 100 years of serving the world overseas., Since 1914 the Panama canal had serviced all over the world in the maritime services.
For centuries, it was a pipe dream: the idea of a canal linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans via Panama. As early as 1534, people had tried – in various ways – to improve trade without the need for lengthy and dangerous sailings around the horn of South America. But sufficient technology did not yet exist to allow the creation of a canal, and those who attempted the journey overland were beaten down by the inhospitable conditions in the dense jungle.
In 2006, ACP estimated the cost of the third set of locks project at US$5.25 billion. This figure includes design, administrative, construction, testing, environmental mitigation, and commissioning costs, as well as contingenciesto cover risks and unforeseen events, such as accidents, design changes, price increases, and possible delays. The cost of interest paid on loans during construction is not included. The largest cost is that associated with constructing the two new lock complexes—one each on the Atlantic and Pacific sides—with estimated costs of US$1.11 billion and USD $1.03 billion each, plus a USD $590 million provision for possible contingencies during their construction.
Opponents contend the project is based on uncertain projections about maritime trade and the world economy. Roberto N. Méndez, an economist at the University of Panama, alleges that the economic and financial projections are based on manipulated data. Independent engineers, most notably Humberto Reynolds and Tomás Drohan Ruiz, the former head of engineering and dredging of the Panama Canal, say that the project will cost much more than currently budgeted and that it is too risky for Panama. M. A. Bernal, a professor at the University of Panama, argues that confidence in the ACP's budget is undermined because of the involvement of engineering and consultancy firm Parsons Brinckerhoff. Parsons Brinckerhoff is best known for the Big Dig in Boston, which ended up costing three times the estimated amount, with several structural and safety concerns.
After dodging multiple financial barriers and deploy intensive bilateral negotiations State Panama Canal Authority (ACP) Group of States and the Canal (GUPC) quadripartite international consortium formed by the Spanish company Sacyr Vallehermoso, Impregilo, Italy, the Belgian Jan de Nul and Panama Urban Construction Friday agreed to the final terms to ensure that the extension of the route connecting the Pacific and Atlantic be completed in December 2015.
The ACP informed COUNTRY signed with the consortium "variation to the contract that formalizes the agreements reached in March to complete the works." In this time, the two parties signed a "memorandum of understanding" to set the parameters to complete enlargement by GUPC, responsible for the construction of a new set of locks of the waterway, which turns 100 on August 15. The progress of the project is 73%, while the overall progress of the entire work is 78%, Jorge Quijano, ACP Administrator reported. After signing the memorandum of understanding in March, the Authority and the consortium had set a deadline, which expired this July 30, to find a definitive solution to their differences.
The construction of the third set of locks project was originally slated to take seven or eight years, with the new locks beginning operations between fiscal years 2014 and 2015, roughly 100 years after the canal first opened. In July 2012, however, it was announced that the expansion project had fallen six months behind schedule, pushing the opening date back from October 2014 to April 2015.
In October 2011, the Panama Canal Authority announced the completion of the third phase of excavation for the Pacific access channel.
In June 2012, a 100-foot-tall reinforced concrete monolith was completed, the first of 46 such monoliths that will line the new Pacific-side lock walls.
The Panama Canal has a limited capacity determined by operational times and cycles of the existing locks and further constrained by the current trend towards larger (close to Panamax-sized) vessels transiting the canal which take more transit time within the locks and navigational channels, and the need for permanent periodical maintenance works due to the aging canal, which forces periodical shutdowns of this waterway. On the other hand, demand is growing due to the rapid growth of international trade. Also many users require a guarantee of certain level of service. Despite the gains which have been made in efficiency, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) estimated that the canal would reach its maximum sustainable capacity between 2009 and 2012. The long-term solution for the congestion problems is the expansion of the canal through a third set of locks.
The size of ships that can transit the canal, called Panamax, is constrained largely by the size of the locks, which require ships to be less than 115 ft (35.05 m) wide and 1,050 ft (320.04 m) long, and have a draft of less than 41.2 ft (12.56 m) deep. The third set of locks will allow transit of larger, Post-Panamax ships, which have a greater cargo capacity than the current locks are capable of handling.
All of the canal-widening studies since the 1930s have determined that the best way to increase canal capacity and allow the Panamanian maritime route to continue to grow is by building a third set of locks larger than the 1914 locks. The US began excavations for new locks in 1939, but abandoned them in 1942 because of the outbreak of World War II. This conclusion was again reached in the 1980s by the tripartite commission formed by Panama, Japan, and the United States. More recently, the studies developed by the Panama Canal Authority (Spanish: Autoridad del Canal de Panamá (ACP)) for its 2025 master plan confirm that a third, larger set of locks is the most suitable, profitable, and environmentally responsible option.
Currently there are 11,055 active workers in the expansion project of the Panama Canal, most of these are directly employed by the contractor, subcontractors but also generated a large amount of jobs.
According to figures provided by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) to February, the expansion project had generated a total of 22,062 direct jobs los11.055 of those assets.
The contractor has required 13,416 workers, while subcontractors in turn generated 8,646 jobs.
The increased demand for labor is in the design and construction of the third set of locks, with 11,316 generated and assets which are 9,536 according to the information provided by the press office of the ACP.
Currently the project is progressing well. According to the latest report as of March 31, the first block of the first gate to the site of the Pacific has been assembled, although you should take into account that each gate has 16 blocks.
The Panama Canal expansion project (also called the Third Set of Locks Project) is intended to double the capacity of the Panama Canal by 2015 by creating a new lane of traffic and allowing more and larger ships to transit.
The project is planned to:
- Build two new locks, one each on the Atlantic and Pacific sides. Each will have three chambers with water-saving basins.
- Excavate new channels to the new locks.
- Widen and deepen existing channels.
- Raise the maximum operating level of Gatun Lake.
Then-Panamanian President Martín Torrijos formally proposed the project on 24 April 2006, saying it would transform Panama into a First World country. A national referendum approved the proposal by a 76.8 percent majority on 22 October, and the Cabinet and National Assembly followed suit. The project formally began on 3 September 2007.
The project is expected to create demand for ports to handle New Panamax ships. Several U.S. Eastern Seaboard ports will be ready for these larger ships, and others are considering renovations, including dredging, blasting, and bridge raising. In the UK, the Port of Southampton can handle post-Panamax vessels and is expanding to accommodate more, while the Port of Liverpool will be capable by 2015 and others are considering such expansion.
According to the plan, a 3.2 km (2.0 mi)-long access channel will be excavated to connect the new Atlantic locks with the existing sea entrance of the canal. To connect the new Pacific-side locks with the existing channels, two new access channels will be built:
- The 6.2 km (3.9 mi) north access channel, which will connect the new Pacific-side lock with the Culebra Cut, circumventing Miraflores Lake. This channel will run along the new Borinquen Dam that separates it from Miraflores Lake (which has a water level that is 9 m lower, due to the dislocation of the Pedro Miguel locks).
- The 1.8 km (1.1 mi) south access channel, which will connect the new lock with the existing sea entrance on the Pacific Ocean.
The new channels on both the Atlantic and the Pacific sides will be at least 218 meters (715 feet) wide, permitting Post-Panamax vessels to navigate in a single direction.
According to the studies conducted by the ACP in 2005, the canal would reach its maximum sustainable capacity between 2009 and 2012. When it reaches this capacity it will not be able to continue to handle growth in demand, resulting in a reduction in the competitiveness of the Panama maritime route.
As approved by the Panamanian people, construction for the expansion project is slated to conclude by 2015. The ACP will use all possible means to stretch capacity until the construction is completed.
The proposed expansion of the canal by the construction of a third set of locks will allow it to capture the entire demand projected through 2025 and beyond. Together, the existing and new locks will approximately double the capacity of the present canal.
Critics such as former legislator Keith Holder, co-author of the legislation that created the ACP, point out that canal usage is seasonal and that even during the few months when it is most crowded, the bottleneck that slows traffic is not the locks but the narrow Culebra Cut, which has a limited capacity for large ships to pass one another.
Although the canal is nearing its maximum capacity, this does not mean that ships will be unable to transit it. Rather, the canal's growth capacity will stagnate and that it will not capture additional cargo volumes.
The former head of the Panama Canal's dredging division, Thomas Drohan, a critic of the expansion plan, discounts allegations that this is a problem in the short term. He argues that if the supply of any good or service becomes short, businesses can raise their prices; this would apply to Panama Canal tolls as much as it does to petroleum.
The canal links the Rio Chagres and Rio Grande rivers, which are on opposite slopes of the Isthmus of Panama. When the waterway opened, the once-isolated fish communities of the two rivers were given the chance to intermingle.
Although both rivers are now home to a handful of new fish, no species has gone extinct as a result, report Scott Smith of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and his colleagues. This is at odds with many experts' belief that intruders upset the delicate balance of ecosystems.