Cosco Shipping Corporation´s Ship Andronikos selected to be the first vessel to pass through the new expanded
Panama Canal. The
Andronikos, a Marshall Islands-flagged container ship belonging to the China
Cosco Shipping Corporation (COSCOCS), a Chinese state-owned group, was selected
by lottery among the Panama Canal Authority's 15 largest clients.
The Chinese-owned freighter will be the first vessel to pass through
newly expanded canal, to be inaugurated with great pomp in June after nine
years of work, officials said Friday. Panama
The 80-kilometer (50-mile) canal has been widened at an estimated cost of more than seven billion dollars to triple its capacity by allowing bigger bulk carriers to cross through.
The aim is to greatly boost the annual revenue
collects in shipping passage fees, currently worth a billion dollars. Panama
Some five percent of world maritime traffic travels through the canal, with an average 35-40 ships passing through every day.
President Juan Carlos Varela is set to host an inauguration ceremony on June 26 to which 70 foreign heads of state and government have been invited.
COSCOCS is the world's fourth-largest operator of container ships.
The brand-new Andronikos can carry up to 9,400 containers and is 300 meters long and 48 meters wide (980 feet by 160 feet). It will enter the canal from the
Ocean side and cross to the Pacific. A smaller
Japanese freighter, the Linden Pride, is set to travel the canal next the
built the original canal a century ago and kept strategic control until 1977 --
is the biggest user of the canal by tonnage. United