Expanding The Panama Canal

The Panama Canal is a 77.1-kilometre (48 mi) ship canal in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean (via the Caribbean Sea) to the Pacific Ocean. The canal cuts across the Isthmus of Panama and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. There are locks at each end to lift ships up to Gatun Lake, an artificial lake created to reduce the amount of excavation work required for the canal, 26 metres (85 ft) above sea level. The current locks are 33.5 metres (110 ft) wide. An expansion project will allow bigger ships to transit, with two new sets of locks, one on the Pacific side and one on the Atlantic side. [20 photos total]

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An aerial view of the construction site of the Panama Canal Expansion project, on the outskirts of Colon City, March 23, 2015. The expansion project area will allow bigger ships to transit, with two new sets of locks, one on the Pacific side and one on the Atlantic side. (REUTERS/Carlos Jasso) #
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An aerial view of a cargo ship in the Panama Canal, March 23, 2015. (REUTERS/Carlos Jasso) #
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A view of the construction site of the Panama Canal Expansion project on the Atlantic side on the outskirts of Colon City, January 15, 2014. (REUTERS/Carlos Jasso) #
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A general view of the construction of the new locks on the Pacific side at the Panama Canal Expansion project in Panama City, February 19, 2013. (REUTERS/Carlos Jasso) #
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A crocodile is seen in the Panama Canal, March 23, 2015. (REUTERS/Carlos Jasso) #
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A canal worker opens the water valves to flood the first access channel that will join the new locks in the Pacific area of the Panama Canal in Panama City, October 19, 2011. (REUTERS/Alberto Lowe) #
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An aerial view of a cargo ship in the Panama Canal, March 23, 2015. (REUTERS/Carlos Jasso) #
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An aerial view of the construction site of the Panama Canal Expansion project, March 23, 2015. (REUTERS/Carlos Jasso) #
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A cargo boat waits for the water to rise as tourists look on at the Miraflores lock of the Panama Canal in Panama City, February 4, 2014. (REUTERS/Carlos Jasso) #
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Members of the media film the first four new gates for the Panama Canal's third set of locks which are on top of a cargo ship during the arrival to Colon in Colon City, August 20, 2013. (REUTERS/ Carlos Jasso) #
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An aerial view of the Gatun locks on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal, on the outskirts of Colon City, March 23, 2015. (REUTERS/Carlos Jasso) #
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An aerial view of cargo ships in the Panama Canal, March 23, 2015. (REUTERS/Carlos Jasso) #
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Workers are seen at the construction site of the Panama Canal Expansion project on the outskirts of Colon City, January 7, 2014. (REUTERS/ Carlos Jasso) #
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An aerial view of a cargo ship in the Panama Canal, March 23, 2015. (REUTERS/Carlos Jasso) #
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A Panama Canal security agent looks on during an organized tour by the Panama Canal authorities to the construction site of the Panama Canal Expansion project on the Pacific side in Panama City, February 5, 2014. (REUTERS/Carlos Jasso) #
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A cargo ship waits to pass through the Miraflores lock in the Panama Canal, in Panama City, December 30, 2009. (REUTERS/Alberto Lowe) #
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An aerial view of the Gatun locks on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal, on the outskirts of Colon City, March 23, 2015. (REUTERS/Carlos Jasso) #
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An aerial view of the construction site of the Panama Canal Expansion project, March 23, 2015. (REUTERS/Carlos Jasso) #
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Children look at a cargo ship in the viewpoint of Pedro Miguel lock on the pacific side of the Panama Canal in Panama City, January 8, 2014. (REUTERS/Carlos Jasso) #
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An explosion at the bottom of the Paraiso hill section of the canal, marks the beginning of the Panama Canal's expansion project, September 3, 2007. (REUTERS/Stringer) #

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