Facebook Twitter 新浪微博 google plus Instagram YouTube Tuesday 14 July 2015
English>>Foreign Affairs

Panama Canal expansion to boost China-LatAm infrastructure cooperation: Chinese official

(Xinhua)    19:35, July 14, 2015

PANAMA CITY, July 14 -- The expansion project of the Panama Canal will create more opportunities for the cooperation on infrastructure between China and Latin America, a Chinese official said Monday.

The canal, which was built 101 years ago, is undergoing an expansion project of 5 billion U.S. dollars to allow larger modern vessels to go through.

Upon its completion in 2016, the canal will be able to accommodate so-called Post-Panamax ships that are larger than Panamax ships, which is important for trade between the Americas and Asia.

A Panamax ship, determined principally by the dimensions of the canal's lock chambers, is no more than 300 meters long, no more than 33 meters wide and has a draft no more than 12 meters deep.

Ports in the Caribbean countries and other Atlantic coastal nations will therefore need to update their facilities to receive bigger vessels, which will provide new opportunities of construction projects for Chinese companies, said Wang Jian, deputy representative of the Chinese Commercial Development Bureau in Panama.

In the Cologne harbor on the Atlantic side of the canal, a wharf expansion project constructed by China Harbor Engineering Company(CHEC) is about to complete. The company is preparing for the bidding for another wharf expansion project on the Pacific side, said Wang.

The canal will be equipped with new and larger chamber locks, which enable large liquified natural gas carriers and oil tankers to pass through. The administration is working on a feasibility study on new docks and facilities for those vessels, according to Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano.

As a strategic passage for international shipping, the Panama Canal also faces competition from the Nicaragua Canal, now under construction, which will serve super-sized ships.

The Panama Canal Authority has invited the CHEC to participate in the construction of the fourth set of chamber locks, according to Wang Weihua, representative of the Chinese Commercial Development Bureau in Panama.

"We are studying on the possibility of our participation in all Canal projects, especially in the design, construction and financing of the fourth set of chamber locks," CHEC Chairman Mo Wenhe said.

The canal contributes about 1 billion dollars a year to the Panamanian government through transit fees. China now is the second largest user of the canal, following the United States.

After the expansion, the shipping cost from China to the eastern coast of the United States will be lowered, according to the Panama Canal Authority.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Kong Defang,Bianji)

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