Read more about the contractor in French

For a long time, the Panama Canal was one of the symbols of the power of the United States. At the same time, every President of Panama sought his transition to the jurisdiction of a small republic. Nevertheless, only in December 1999, the channel was under Panamanian control. True, the United States still remains a guarantor of freedom of navigation through the Panama Canal.

Panama Canal bridge

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Since December 31, 1999, the channel has been managed by the state-owned Panamanian company Autoridad del Canal de Panama (ACP), through which ships of various types – from private yachts to container ships – pass through. The maximum size of a vessel that can pass to the Panama Canal has become the standard in shipbuilding. This is recorded in its title: Panamax. Annually 17.5 thousand vessels pass through the canal, carrying more than 203 million tons of cargo.

French Panama Canal users

The main users of the channel today are the USA, China, Japan, Chile, and South Korea. It should be noted that the administration of the channel registers passing ships on the flag, and not on the homeport. So it turns out that under the “convenient” Panamanian flag the lion’s share of ships of the world merchant fleet is floating. Most of the cargo is grain, then and oil products are transported, but the volumes of container shipments are growing most dynamically.

Tariffs for the passage through the Panama Canal are relatively low: $ 2.57 per net tonne for a loaded vessel and $ 0.86 for an empty one. However, passing through the channel must be recorded in advance. If a vessel urgently needs a passage, it can buy a “window” at the auction. The one who will offer a larger amount will get the right to get without a queue to another ocean. So far, the record belongs to the American passenger liner Disney Magic. In May of this year, they bought the right of passage for 331.2 thousand dollars.

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The Channel

The Panama Canal itself, its facilities and equipment cost about $ 5 billion at current prices. It’s no secret that the profits from the operation of the channel are Panama’s main income. Soon they will become bigger. In 2006, 78 percent of Panamanians voted to expand the channel. The first stage of this construction should be completed by March 2010. The project of modernization of the channel is planned to be completely realized by 2014. The festivities will be held due to one of the main engineering miracles of the last century.