Friday, October 31, 2014

Crowley delivers new gates for Panama Canal expansion

Crowley Maritime’s heavy lift barge 455 4 delivered the first in a series of new gates for the ongoing Panama Canal expansion. Crowley said it would help transport all eight of the gates involved in the Pacific side lock expansion of the canal, which will combine with the Atlantic side expansion to create a wider lane of vessel traffic.

The 455 4 was contracted by heavy lift company Sarens to transport the gates from Cristóbal, a port on the Atlantic side of the canal, to Grupo Unidos por el Canal, SA’s construction dock, which was built to receive the gates on the Pacific side, according to Crowley. The 105-foot wide barge was towed by Panama Canal Authority tugs and made the trip in one day.

"Crowley provided Sarens the barge to complete this important step in the historical expansion of the Panama Canal," said John Ara, vice president of Crowley’s solutions group. "As family-owned, privately-held companies, both keenly focused on safety, integrity and high performance, working together proved to be a successful partnership for a project that the entire world is literally watching."

The 455 4 is one in a series of eight high-deck strength barges in Crowley’s fleet that can handle uniform loads up to 4,200 pounds per-square-foot, the statement said. The 105-foot wide barge will transport another gate in October followed by three more in both November and December.

The Panama Canal expansion project, scheduled to be complete in 2016, involves widening the channel and adding a third set of locks, one set on the Pacific and the other on the Atlantic side. The new locks require 16 gates that will increase efficiency and allow the passage of larger, post-Panamax ships.

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