During routine testing of the expanded Panama Canal, engineers recently discovered some alarmingly large leaks in the new Cocoli Locks on the Pacific side, separating the middle and lower chambers. Despite the startling volume of water that can be seen cascading through what appears to be several meters of solid concrete, news of this development seems to have remained a secret. Alternatively, perhaps it’s just that no one actually cares.
According to the Panama Canal Authority, LNG tanker traffic is expected to reach 25 million metric tons per year upon completion of the expansion project. In recent years, LNG export project developers along the US Gulf Coast have been banking on an expanded canal for sales to Asia. Indeed, according to some estimates, the transit distance from the US Gulf Coast to Japan can be reduced to around 9,215 nautical miles, compared with 14,570 nautical miles through the Suez Canal.