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Panama Canal Atlantic entrance expansion project
Neckebroeck, J. (2007). Panama Canal Atlantic entrance expansion project. Terra et Aqua 108: 27-31
In: Terra et Aqua: International Journal on Public Works, Ports and Waterways Developments. International Association of Dredging Companies (IADC): The Hague. ISSN 0376-6411, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Dredging; ASW, Panama, Panama Canal [Marine Regions]; Marine; Brackish water

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  • Neckebroeck, J.

    The commercial importance of the Panama Canal for over some 90 years cannot be overstated. Vessels transiting through the Canal between the Atlantic to Pacific Oceans save an enormous amount of time bringing goods to market. However, given the increasing size of cargo vessels, known as post-Panamax, and the longer wait times for slots to transit the Canal, the need for widening and deepening the Canal became obvious. The Autoridad del Canal de Panama (Panama Canal Authority; ACP) is responsible for all dredging operations in the Canal and at the Atlantic and Pacific Entrance Channels. Usually dredging activities are carried out by its own fleet of dredgers, including the hydraulic dredger Mindi and dipper dredger Rialto M. Christensen for deepening and maintaining the waterway. However, considering the scope of the work, the ACP decided to offer an international tender for deepening and widening the Entrance Channels. This proved to be a good choice as one of the most serious challenges to any dredging operation in the Canal is that vessels transiting the Canal must always have priority. In fact during the execution of this project, at least half of the channel width had to remain available for transiting vessels at all times. With these requirements in mind, the ACP opted to employ international state-of-the-art dredging equipment to facilitate the dredging operations necessary to keep the Canal functioning efficiently. The large capacity of these dredging ships plus their self-propelling capability allowed them to avoid obstructing transiting vessels and to expedite the work.

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