Panama Canal administrator Jorge Quijano has assured shipping leaders the expanded canal should be open for business by April next year.
“It hasn’t been easy” he told the Danish Maritime Forum in Copenhagen today, referring to disputes with the project’s contractors and engineering faults that led to leaks. Quijano said the project is 95% complete.
He said when opened, the canal would not immediately handle the largest container vessels, that can be accommodated, 14,000 teu, but would build up to it, allowing pilots to acclimatise to the new conditions.
Quijano said LNG shipments through the canal will be a segment that will show strong growth in the years ahead. “Next year we’ll see the first shipment going to Japan” through the canal and he said there is also strengthening demand for LNG shipments from China and South Korea.