The 2016 expansion of the Panama Canal locks shortens the passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean by 9,000 miles for vessels that exceed the size limits of the old locks. This is a welcome alternative to “going ‘round the horn” through the Straits of Magellan, or cartage operations from coast to coast. For vessels from Asia heading to the east coast of the United States, it significantly shortens transit times compared to the alternate route through the Suez Canal. With container and bulk carrier vessels growing larger with each generation, the need for expanding the locks has evolved, and the effect on global shipping has been immense.
WIRE IS OUT. SYNTHETIC IS IN.
New regulations for the locks also mandated that mooring lines be upgraded; steel wire ropes are not allowed on vessels transiting the new locks.
INDUSTRY RECOGNIZES SAFETY AND RELIABILITY OF SYNTHETIC ROPES
The Panama Canal Authority, through ACP Advisory to Shipping No. A-08-2017 of March 6, 2017, alerted vessels owners and operators that “Vessels are required to have six manila or synthetic mooring lines forward and six aft, in good condition prior to commencing transit,” and that, “The size and strength of these lines shall be suitable for the vessel’s size in order to safely dock, moor at a lock approach wall, or secure the vessel in a lock chamber.”