PANAMA CITY – The containership CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt, with a capacity for shipping 14,800 containers, on Tuesday became the largest capacity vessel ever to cross through the Panama Canal, thanks to the expansion of the locks that went into service on June 26, 2016.
The Neopanamax containership reached the new Cocoli locks on the Pacific side at 6:00 am local time and will make an “expedited” trip through to the other side – between 12:00 noon and 1:00 pm local time it is expected to be already sailing away on the Atlantic side to the east coast of the United States.
That was explained Tuesday by Operations Supervisor Jorge Pitty in a statement to reporters as the colossus made its way through the Expanded Canal.
The United States is the leading user of the interoceanic route, through which passes close to 6 percent of the world’s trade – between October 2016 and May 2017 the US was responsible for 68.7 percent of the shipping through the canal, followed by China with 30.7 percent and Japan with 11.6 percent, according to official figures.
The containership CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt measures 365.96 meters (1,200 feet) long and 48.25 meters wide, the equivalent of laying eight Statues of Liberty end to end or four Big Bens, the Panama Canal Authority said on its Twitter account.
Pitty said the Panama Canal Expansion has the capacity to “handle perfectly” vessels 457 meters long, and that the Panama Canal Authority expects that ships with the capacity of Tuesday’s record-setter will be common “within 3-4 years.”
Seven ships similar in capacity to the CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt have crossed in recent months through the Panama Canal, whose Expanded Canal has had 2,000 ships’ crossings, all without incident, Pitty said.