China COSCO Shipping has won the draw for the first transit through the Expanded Panama Canal during the waterway’s inauguration on Sunday 26 June 2016. The shipping line’s container vessel Andronikos will be making the inaugural transit. The vessel, which has a capacity of 9,400TEU, is 8.25m in beam and 299.98m in length,
In addition, more than 100 Neopanamax ships have already made reservations for commercial transit through the new locks, which will begin on 27 June 2016, following the historic inauguration.
The draw took place this morning at the Panama Canal Administration Building, in which a Notary Public served as witness, among invited attendees. The Norwegian/Swedish shipping line Wallenius Wilhemsen Lines (WWL) and the Chinese shipping line China COSCO Shipping participated in the draw.
WWL participated with the car carrier Thalatta. The car carrier, which has a capacity of 8,000CEU (car equivalent units), is 36.5m in beam and 199.97m in length.
“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.”
The draw was carried out with ballots labeled with the name of each participant. The first ballot was chosen and given to the Notary Public, who opened and handed it to the Administrator, who announced the winner of the draw. Directly following the announcement, a second ballot was chosen for the shipping line—in this case WWL—that will deploy a vessel for the inaugural transit in the event that the winner informs the Panama Canal by May 10 that it will not be able to deploy an approved vessel.