Photos by Joseph H. Krause
As with any operation of the magnitude and complexity of the Panama Canal,
round-the-clock maintenance is critical to its effectiveness and efficiency.
Approximately $450 million is spent each year for the overall operation of the
Canal, of which nearly $100 million is committed to maintaining and improving
the waterway. Regular dredging of the main channel virtually assures a
year-round maximum draft of 39.5 feet even during dry periods. Because the
Panama Canal Commission recognizes and emphasizes the requirement for good
maintenance, regular overhauls of miter gates, chambers, culverts and valves are
scheduled to keep the locks in top operating condition.
To preserve its status as the alternative of choice for a large share of
world trade, the Panama Canal Commission is continuing to make major
improvements to the waterway. New, more powerful tugboats and locomotives have
been acquired to accommodate increased traffic and larger ships; high mast
lighting is now in place to brightly illuminate all locks areas and their
approaches, resulting in safer night transit of larger vessels; a vessel mooring
station has increased the effective utilization of Pacific area locks; a
deepened channel virtually assures a maximum navigable draft; a synchro-lift
provides for convenient maintenance and repair of Canal equipment; new
state-of-the-art computers installed in the Marine Traffic Control Center
surpass the high standards of previous equipment; and buoys have been converted
to conform to internationally accepted standards.
© Copyright 2000-2011 - FaithfulWeb Studio & Bill Holden - Huntington, Indiana USA