The expanded Panama Canal is set to open by the end of June, Bloomberg reports citing Jose Ramon Arango, senior international trade specialist at the Panama Canal Authority (ACP).

“We have had some problems with the contractors and also some problems with seepage — all of that has been resolved,” Arango is quoted as saying at a shipping conference in Stamford, Connecticut Tuesday. “We expect that, by the end of June or by early July, we will open the canal.”

The announcement is made following the completion of repair works in the new locks of the Panama Canal that were concluded in February.

The so-called Cocoli’s locks sprung a leak in August 2015, and the project contractor Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC) was working ever since to assess the leak and reinforce the structure.

The locks reinforcements have now passed the test and a chartered tanker is expected to be tested in May, before the project is handed over to ACP.

The ACP is scheduled to inaugurate today its Scale Model Maneuvering Training Facility during a ceremony, which is scheduled to serve as an opportunity to announce a number of other expansion updates as well. The President of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, and the Panama Canal Administrator and CEO, Jorge L. Quijano, are expected to speak.

The new training facility features docking bays, model tug boats, and replicas of the new and existing locks, gates and chambers.

The long-awaited expansion project of the canal has reached 97 percent completion, based on the latest update from the canal authority.

The new locks will allow for the passage of between 10 and 12 Neopanamax vessels in approximately 40 daily transits through the Panama Canal.

Source: http://worldmaritimenews.com/