The Panama Canal reached a new milestone today after container ship COSCO Faith made the 5,000th transit through the expanded locks, inaugurated two and a half years ago.
The ship, which usually serves the route between Asia and the East Coast of the United States and has capacity for 13,408 containers, crossed the waterway on Monday in a southerly direction, that is, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific.
"We continue to overcome challenges with the support of the collaborators of the Panama Canal, who are committed to improving the service every day in order to generate greater benefits for our country," the canal administrator, Jorge Luis Quijano, said in a statement.
Through the canal, built by the United States at the beginning of the last century and transferred to Panama on December 31, 1999, close to 6 percent of world trade passes and more than 140 sea routes and 1,700 ports in 160 different countries are connected.
June marked the second year since the Canal expansion was inaugurated, which was built to help the so-called Neopanamax ships cross, with capacity to carry up to 14,000 containers.
Container transport continues to be the main business of the water route, but the new locks have allowed the canal to open to other products, such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) or large cruise ships, which did not fit into the old complex.
To date, 51 percent of the Neopanamax vessels that have traveled through the Canal correspond to the segment of container ships, followed by liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) with 26 percent and LNG with 10 percent, according to official data .