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Chinese ship to inaugurate Expanded Panama Canal

CHINA COSCO Shipping on Friday won the draw to inaugurate the Expanded Panama Canal this June with one of its mega vessels, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) announced.

"The shipping line's container vessel Andronikos will be making the inaugural transit," the ACP said in a press release.

The draw, which took place Friday morning at the Panama Canal Administration Building, pitted the Norwegian/Swedish shipping line Wallenius Wilhemsen Lines (WWL) against China COSCO.

COSCO's Andronikos, which has a maximum capacity of 9,400 TEUs -(20-foot equivalent units of shipping containers) and measures 8.25 meters in beam and 299.98 meters in length, beat out WWL's car carrier Thalatta, which has a maximum capacity of 8,000 CEUs (car equivalent units), and measures 36.5 meters in beam and 199.97 meters in length, the ACP said.

"It is a great honor to have one of our top customers celebrate this historical moment with us," said Panama Canal Administrator, Jorge L. Quijano.

"We are excited and prepared to continue providing the same reliable and efficient service within the Expanded Panama Canal that our customers have come to expect through the years."

More than 100 Neopanamax-size cargo ships have already made reservations for commercial transit through the new larger locks beginning June 27, the day after the historic inauguration, the ACP said.

The Panama Canal announced in March it would invite its top customers to participate in the draw.


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