One hundred years ago, in 1914, the Panama canal was opened. At the time it was the biggest American engineering project. Ever since it has played a major role in world trade (about three percent global cargo pass through the canal). The major widening project (5.4 billion US$) commenced in 2008 and expected to be completed in 2015. This would enable larger vessels to transit the canal, up to three times size. The Panama Canal Authority has come up with requirements for the vessels to transit the canal. This paper outlines the need and the process for undertaking such modification and preparing the booklet for submission and approval prior vessel calling.
Value Creation – Shorter ROUTE for US EAST COAST
The biggest benefit of the canal if for US east coast bound cargo (mainly from East Asia) which instead of going around the Cape of Good Hope or westward via Suez Canal can now go though the Panama Canal.
As seen in the figure below, the current size limit of Panama canal (vessel in red) is about 4500 TEU. Vessels of up to three times the current size can pass through. This opens a wide range of possibility for the trade pattern.
The first step is to identify the additional requirements to meet compliance.
Case Study of 4,743 TEU Container Vessel
To analyse the requirements to comply with ACP regulations and make modifications if any.
The vessel was a 1995 built, 4,743 TEU container vessel with a length of 299.95 m and breadth of 37.1 m.
Initial study identified modifications in many areas.
- Pilot Platform and Shelter – The vessel did not have a pilot platform and shelter. This need to be added.
- Visibility – For each condition of operation (standard draft and trim) the list of container to be removed from the vessel to meet the visibility requirements was identified and listed.
- Mooring – The additional chocks and bollards needed to be installed on deck with additional stiffening under-deck. These stiffening were designed for the worst operating conditions and approved by class (BV). Additional chocks – 6 single and 6 double were needed to be added in aft and forward part of the vessel. Four number of bollards were also needed to be added.
- Wheelhouse – Few equipments were missing in the vessel bridge wings that needed to be added. These include rudder angle indicators, RPM indicators.
- Vessel Section –The section of the vessel with the Atlantic and Pacific side locks were drawn to see the clearances.
It is very important to understand the impact on the various types of ships.
White paper issued on Panama canal widening rertrofit by Navgathi, a marine design and construction firm (www.navgathi.com), Read more-