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Started by Cape Cod 13, May 19, 2010, 08:38:58 AM

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Out of curiosity - is there a price difference going through the new locks?
About what does it cost for a ship to go through?
Yes, I realise this depends on the size and type of ship, but I don't think I have ever heard a reliable estimate of cost for going through the locks.

The Canal has changed its toll structure considerably at the beginning of April.  In short they charge more for more valuable cargoes and less for the less valuable cargoes when bulk cargoes are involved.  The easiest to show as examples would be a container ship and passenger ship both at Panamax dimensions... 965'x106'.   A container ship that size would have a capacity of around 4000 TEUs (twenty foot equivalent units).  There would be a toll charge on the capacity of ship... $60x4000= 240,000, then a charge of $30 per loaded container.  If only 2000 TEUs are loaded then another 30x2000=$60,000. 

For the passenger ship of the same size there is a difference on the toll depending on which locks are used.  Ships using the present locks are charged $138 per passenger berth (occupied or not).  For the new locks the toll is $148/pass. berth.  Example... at the present locks a passenger ship with a total passenger capacity of 2500 passengers, the toll would be 2500x138=345,000.

There are substantial fees that also have to be added to the actual toll.  These would include $35,000 reservation for a transit on a specific day, $30,000 daylight transit guarantee, which most passenger ships fork over.  Throw in another $12,000 for tugs.  You can see it is very easy to get into the $400K range, of course smaller ships would be charged less.   

There are slightly lower rates for ships that are in ballast, but the toll is still based on the capacity of the ship.  In the passenger ship example above, the toll would be $111 per pass berth.


While COSCO's Androniko has been selected for the inaugural transit on June 26th, the bulk carrier MV Baroque will be the first to try on the Atlantic Locks for size.  The Baroque is scheduled to arrive at the Atlantic entrance early in June for a series of "dry" runs through the Agua Clara Locks.

Carolyn Jane


It's a small section of the southeast wing wall at Miraflores Locks.


Didn't have time to post these yesterday, but in the first picture you can see the aggrieved wall in better days at the far right of the picture.  The next pic can give you an idea of the amount of prop wash that area is subjected to from the tugs assisting ships into the locks.  The tug is just a little upstream of the now collapsed wall.


The first lockage at the Agua Clara Locks with a neo Panamax ship yesterday, June 9.  They locked the ship up into the Gatun Lake anchorage, suppose they will have a go at the down lockage today.


The Andronikos will not be the ship for the inaugural transit... it will however be the same ship! The name of the Andronikos has been changed to Cosco Shipping Panama. The CSP recently sailed from Greece for Panama after a ceremony which included the Canal's administrator Jorge Quijano.


Trial lockages have been underway at the Agua Clara Locks since the bulker MV Baroque arrived in Panama earlier this month.   For reference the ship starts in Gatun Lake, locks down Agua Clara to Limon Bay where it turns around and locks back up to Gatun Lake.   Link is from the FB page of the Canal's Administrator...

Yesterday trial lockages at the Cocoli Locks on the Pacific side were made by the Canal's crane boat Oceanus.  The ACP's engineer in charge of the Canal expansion, Ilya R de Marotta  provided the following the following video from her FB page.

While it may seem a very straight forward operation there actually is unstated symbolism in the choice of vessels.  The actual first transit of the Panama Canal was accomplished by the Crane Boat Alexandre LaValle in January of 1914.  The LaValle's transit was not a traditional transit starting and finishing the same day, rather the vessel had worked its way through the Canal during the construction ultimately passing through Miraflores Locks making the first ocean to ocean transit of the Canal.  The LaValle was actually one of the few pieces of equipment that was used in the French attempt to build the Canal and also used during the US's construction effort from 1904-1914.  Perhaps a tribute to the French effort.

Fast forward another 100 years and examine the Crane Boat Oceanus...  She was built in Mississippi and delivered to the US administered Panama Canal Commission in 1996 and is still in service with the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) which is the autonomous government agency of Panama that operates the Canal.  The Oceanus a former US vessel reaches the Pacific via the new Cocoli Locks much the same way the former French vessel reached the Pacific via Miraflores Locks in 1914.   


Ilya Marotta supplied another video of a test lockage of the Cocoli Locks.  This time they used a Panamax ship the Cosco Houston 856'x106'.  I believe the ship locked up at Gatun, the video picks up around Barro Colorado and ends as the ship leaves the Cocoli Locks.


From Today at Agua Clara, the Cosco Shipping Panama and the toll was $586,000...

Just having left the Cut in the Access Channel headed towards Cocoli Locks...



The allision occurred on the south end of Agua Clara Locks, which is the Gatun Lake entrance without an approach wall.  So as it stands now, Cosco Shipping has had the first ship to transit the expanded portion of the Canal and they also have the first ship to holed in the expansion as well.  I don't think they are thrilled with the second "honor."  gCapatain has a picture of the damage to the ship.

Below is what I found somewhere else...


 The article from gCaptain contains a time compressed video shot from a drone of a large container ship entering the south end of Agua Clara Locks.  The video comes from the Canal's Administrator Jorge Quijano.



Thanks for this.

I do believe we will see locomotives down the road.

I have seen on CNN and a few other news places that the USA can now ship LNG from the East Coast of the USA to the western part of South America for cheaper than China.
I am not sure I want to see large CNG ships (or be near) go through the new locks and get "holed", mind you it would likely only happen once.  >:D



There has been one school of thought that locomotives were needed to begin with... of course that school did not win!  However even if the need for locos demonstrated to absolutely essential for a safer, smoother operation, I think it will be unlikely that they would be added, a real uphill battle.  Of course this is nothing but my opinion, but there is a large element of the Canal administration that wants to put their own stamp on the Canal and not do things as the "previous administration" did.  Then that would provide all those doubting Thomases (guess in Panama that would Tomas ;)) too much fodder for I told you so!  Lots of egos to be bruised.

On the practical side I am sure money is an issue since they are arguing with the contract consortium about a $1 billion plus cost overrun... no telling how that will shake out.  The last I knew each loco was over $2 million a piece, probably need around 20 at each locks, the cost of the track system... it will add up fast.  Then you have the tugs they purchased for the handling of ships at the new locks, that was 14 tugs at $12 million a pop.  Of course they could be used elsewhere on the Canal as they had been before the new locks were opened.

And I think I will plan my visit to the new and improved locks on days when an LNG ship won't be there!!!