Voters in Panama have approved a referendum for a $5.3-billion expansion of the Panama Canal, expected to double the canal’s capacity by 2014. The referendum passed by a margin of 78% to 22%. The project will add a third set of locks, each 1,400 feet long and 180 feet wide, giving bigger freighters carrying up to 12,000 containers a route through the passage.
Many more new freighters being delivered are capable of carrying in excess of 10,000 containers. Ships classified as panamax-the largest ships that can navigate the canal currently-can generally carry no more than 5,000 containers. As a major corridor for delivery of copper from Chile, the project could make the transporting of metals easier by adding capacity to meet the growing demand for raw materials worldwide.
American Metal Market. October 24, 2006
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