It’s been nearly nine years and more than $5 billion in the making, but come hell or high water the Panama Canal Expansion is finally ready to open this weekend with hopes of ushering in a new era of trade.
To mark the occasion, the patient people over at EarthCam have released this 5-year time-lapse video showing construction of the Third Set of Locks (aka the new “Neopanamax” locks) at the center of the historic project. The time-lapse used EarthCam’s robotic construction cameras capturing HD images from more than 140 angles and resulting in over a terabyte of image data that was then hand-edited down to this 2 minute video.
The largest of its kind since the Canal’s original construction, the $5.25 billion expansion will allow ships more than 2.5 times the size of the current limit to pass through the waterway, effectively doubling its capacity and opening up new markets for shipping lines, American farmers, and producers of liquified natural gas, a new segment altogether for the Canal.
The expanded Panama Canal will be inaugurated Sunday (June 26) with the transit of the MV Cosco Shipping Panama containership, with the first commercial transits beginning Monday.