The expanded Panama Canal is set to open on June 26, 2016, according to the Panama Canal Authority.
The expansion project is currently 97 percent complete with only final testing remaining. This will be conducted in the following weeks up until the opening date, ACP said in a statement on Wednesday.
Once the expansion is complete, vessels carrying liquefied natural gas will be able to transit the Panama Canal for the first time, transporting volumes from the emerging US Gulf Coast LNG export projects.
It could also shorten the route for LNG carriers transporting Peruvian liquefied natural gas to Europe.
According to the ACP, the expanded canal will have the capacity to accommodate LNG carriers with the capacity to transport 173,000 cubic meters to 180,000 cbm of liquefied natural gas.
José Ramón Arango, leader of liquid bulk segment, Panama Canal Authority said at an event this week that with additional modifications, the canal will be able to accommodate the Q-Flex (210,00 cbm) and Q-Max (266,000 cbm) LNG carriers in the future, Platts reports.
In 2015, ACP approved a tolling structure for LNG carriers, noting that tolls will be based on cubic meters.
Panama Canal Authority additionally opened a scale model training facility modeled after the canal’s Culebra Cut, featuring docking bays, replicas of the new and existing locks, gates, and chambers, all at a 1:25 scale.
The facility is equipped with a number of created scale model Panama Canal tugboats and other vessels while an LNG carrier is scheduled for delivery in September 2016, ACP said.
LNG World News Staff