Did you know this about the Panama Canal?
According to the Panama Canal Authority:
- The Panama Canal is approximately 80 kilometers, or nearly 50 miles, long.
- Between 13,000 and 14,000 vessels use the Panama Canal each year, as of February 2013.
- The maximum dimension of ships that can travel the canal are 32.3 meters in beam (width); 12 meters depth in Tropical Fresh Water; and 291.4 meters long depending on the type of ship.
- The Panama Canal expansion project, which began in September 2007, creates a new lane of traffic that willl permit passage of vessels carrying up to 13,000 TEUs (20-foot equivalent unit). Existing locks allow up to 5,000 TEUs.
The Panama Canal expansion project is behind schedule and is expected to be complete in late 2015, or in 2016, according to media reports. The canal expansion has been delayed by cost overruns, strikes and additional challenges.
Nicaragua announced in November 2014 that it would construct a waterway aimed at rivaling the Panama Canal.