Panama Canal's new, expanded locks at 'full operability'

PANAMA CITY – The Panama Canal’s new set of expanded locks are working at full capacity and ready to receive their first ships, the consortium that designed and built them said Wednesday.

Grupo Unidos por el Canal SA said in a statement that the locks were “brought to full operability” Tuesday and the system “works to perfection.”

The locks are designed to accommodate massive ships known as “New Panamax” that are too large for the previous ones.

A formal inauguration of the $5.25 billion canal expansion is planned for June 26. The project was originally supposed to be completed in October 2014.

The consortium is led by the Italian company Salini Impregilo and also comprises Spain’s Sacyr Vallehermoso, Belgium’s Jan De Nul and Panama’s Constructora Urbana SA.