The ambassador of Panama visits civil engineering students
By Ansia Labuschagne
Posted on 03 October 2011
On Thursday, the ambassador of Panama, José Barrios, gave a presentation on the Panama Canal to the civil engineering students. The Panama Canal is the shortest route between the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans, taking only 8 hours.
The canal was first opened in 1914 and is currently in the fourth year of a seven year expansion project. The project includes widening and deepening both entrances of the canal, raising the level of the Gatum Lake and building new locks to be used by post panamax ships of up to 400 meters long. Up to now 80 hectares of earth have been cleared away, 8.7 million m³ of sand has been dredged and 600 hectares of land have been reforested in accordance with the plan for the canal to be carbon neutral.
The expansion will have a large impact on trade, especially between America and China since the size of the ships that can pass through the canal will be increased three to four times. Along with the existing four ports Panama will also be building a fifth to further accommodate the increase in trade.
It was a very informative session and the civil engineeering students not only learnt a lot but thoroughly enjoyed the presentation. A grateful thank you goes out to the Civil Engineering department for organising the presentation and to José Barrios for the wonderful presentation.