PANAMA CITY – A container ship became the 3,000th neo-Panamax vessel to cross the Panama Canal since the waterway’s expansion 20 months ago, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) said Friday.
At around 7 am, the Panamanian-flagged MSC Caterina, pulled by two tugboats, passed through the Cocoli lock in the Pacific sector, on its way to the Atlantic, the ACP said.
“Today, with the MSC Caterina, we have achieved the challenge of having 3,000 neo-Panamax crossings in the expanded canal,” chief administrator Jorge Luis Quijano said on Twitter.
The Caterina, measuring 300 m (984.3 ft) from bow to stern and 48 m (157.5 ft) from port to starboard, can carry 9,000 containers.
The ACP said that nearly 53 percent of the neo-Panamax vessels travelling through the expanded canal have been cargo ships.
Another 38 percent have been tankers carrying liquefied petroleum gas and liquefied natural gas.
The canal was constructed by the United States at the beginning of the 20th century and was handed over to Panama on Dec. 31, 1999.
Nearly 6 percent of world trade crosses through the canal via more than 140 sea routes linking 1,700 ports in 160 different countries.