The Panama Canal is a man-made canal in Panama which joins the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Panama, officially the Republic of Panama (República de Panamá) is the southernmost country of Central America. The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth 's Oceanic divisions One of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken, it had an enormous impact on shipping between the two oceans, replacing the long and treacherous route via the Drake Passage and Cape Horn at the southernmost tip of South America. Engineering is the Discipline and Profession of applying technical and scientific Knowledge and Shipping is physical process of Transporting goods and Cargo. The Drake Passage or Mar de Hoces -Sea of " Hoces "- is the body of water between the southern tip of South America at Cape Horn, Cabo de Hornos redirects here for the Chilean commune see Cabo de Hornos Chile. South America is a Continent of the Americas, situated entirely in the Western Hemisphere and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a A ship sailing from New York to San Francisco via the canal travels 9,500 km (6,000 miles), well under half the 22,500 km (14,000 mi) route around Cape Horn. A ship /ʃɪp/ is a large vessel that floats on water Ships are generally distinguished from Boats based on size The City of New York The City and County of San Francisco is the fourth most populous city  Although the concept of a canal near Panama dates back to the early 16th century, the first attempt to construct a canal began in 1880 under French leadership. Panama, officially the Republic of Panama (República de Panamá) is the southernmost country of Central America. The French Third Republic (in French, La Troisième République, sometimes written as La IIIe After this attempt failed and saw 21,900 workers die, the project of building a canal was attempted and completed by the United States in the early 1900s, with the canal opening in 1914. The United States of America —commonly referred to as the The building of the 77 km (48 mi) canal was plagued by problems, including disease (particularly malaria and yellow fever) and landslides. Malaria is a vector -borne Infectious disease caused by Protozoan Parasites It is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions including Yellow fever (also called yellow jack, black vomit or sometimes American Plague) is an acute viral disease A landslide is a geological phenomenon which includes a wide range of ground movement such as rock falls deep failure of slopes and shallow debris flows which can occur By the time the canal was completed, a total of 27,500 workers are estimated to have died in the French and American efforts.
Since opening, the canal has been enormously successful, and continues to be a key conduit for international naval trade. The canal can accommodate vessels from small private yachts up to large commercial vessels. A yacht is a recreational boat It designates two rather different classes of Watercraft, sailing and power yachts The maximum size of vessel that can use the canal is known as Panamax; an increasing number of modern ships exceed this limit, and are known as post-Panamax vessels. " Panamax " ships are of the maximum dimensions that will fit through the locks of the Panama Canal. A typical passage through the canal by a cargo ship takes around nine hours. 14,011 vessels passed through in 2005, with a total capacity of 278. 8 million tons, making an average of almost 40 vessels per day. 
The earliest mention of a canal across the Isthmus of Panama dates back to 1532, when Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain, suggested that a canal in Panama would ease the voyage for ships traveling to and from Spain and Peru. The history of the Panama Canal goes back almost to the earliest explorers of the Americas. The Isthmus of Panama, also historically known as the Isthmus of Darien, is the narrow strip of land that lies between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Charles V (24 February 1500 &ndash 21 September 1558 was Spain () or the Kingdom of Spain (Reino de España is a country located mostly in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Peru (Perú Piruw Piruw officially the Republic of Peru ( reˈpuβlika del peˈɾu is a country in western South America. 
During his exploring expedition of 1788-1793 Alessandro Malaspina demonstrated the feasibility of a canal and outlined plans for its construction. Alessandro Malaspina (also spelled Alexandro and Alejandro; November 5, 1754 - April 9, 1810) was an Italian 
Given the strategic situation of Panama and its narrow isthmus dividing two great oceans, other forms of trade links were attempted over the years. Panama, officially the Republic of Panama (República de Panamá) is the southernmost country of Central America. An isthmus is a narrow strip of land connecting two larger land areas The ill-fated Darien scheme was an attempt launched by the Kingdom of Scotland in 1698 to set up an overland trade route, but was defeated by the generally inhospitable conditions, and abandoned two years later in 1700. The Darien scheme (colony of New Caledonia was an unsuccessful attempt by the Kingdom of Scotland to establish a Colony on the Isthmus of Panama in the The Kingdom of Scotland ( Gaelic: Rìoghachd na h-Alba, Scots: Kinrick o Scotland) was a State in northwest Europe  Finally, the Panama Railway was built across the isthmus, opening in 1855. The Panama Railway or Panama Rail Road is a Railway line that links the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean across Panama in This overland link greatly facilitated trade and this vital piece of infrastructure was a key factor in the selection of the later canal route.
An all-water route between the oceans was still seen as the ideal solution, and the idea of a canal was enhanced by the success of the Suez Canal. The Gaillard Cut, or Culebra Cut, is a man-made valley cutting through the Continental divide in Panama. The Suez Canal is a Canal in Egypt. Opened in 1869 it allows Water transportation between Europe and Asia without circumnavigation The French, under Ferdinand de Lesseps, began construction on a sea-level canal (i. This article is about the country For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic France topics. Ferdinand Marie Vicomte de Lesseps, GCSI ( November 19[[ 805]]&ndash December 7[[ 894]] was the French developer of the Suez Canal, e. , without locks) through what was then Colombia's province of Panama, on January 1, 1880. Colombia (kəˈlʌmbɪə officially the Republic of Colombia () is a country in northwestern South America. New Year See also New Year The Ancient Romans began their consular year on January 1st since 153 BC Year 1880 ( MDCCCLXXX) was a Leap year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Leap year The French began work in a rush with insufficient prior study of the geology and hydrology of the region. Geology (from Greek γη gê, "earth" and λόγος Logos, "speech" lit Hydrology (from Greek Yδωρ hudōr, "water" and λόγος logos, "study" is the study of the movement distribution and quality of  Disease, particularly malaria and yellow fever, sickened and killed vast numbers of employees, ranging from laborers to top directors of the French company. Malaria is a vector -borne Infectious disease caused by Protozoan Parasites It is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions including Yellow fever (also called yellow jack, black vomit or sometimes American Plague) is an acute viral disease Public health measures were ineffective because the role of the mosquito as a disease vector was then unknown. Mosquitoes are insects in the family Culicidae. They have a pair of scaled wings a pair of Halteres, a slender body and long legs In Epidemiology, a vector is an Organism that does not cause Disease itself but which transmits Infection by conveying Pathogens from These conditions made it impossible to maintain an experienced work force as fearful technical employees quickly returned to France. Even the hospitals contributed to the problem, unwittingly providing breeding places for mosquitoes inside the unscreened wards. Actual conditions were hushed-up in France to avoid recruitment problems.  In 1893, after a great deal of work, the French scheme was abandoned due to disease and the sheer difficulty of building a sea-level canal, as well as lack of French field experience, such as downpours causing steel equipment to rust.  The high toll from disease was one of the major factors in the failure; as many as 22,000 workers are estimated to have died during the main period of French construction (1881–1889). 
According to Stephen Kinzer's 2006 book Overthrow, in 1898 the chief of the French Canal Syndicate (a group that owned large swathes of land across Panama), Philippe Bunau Varilla, hired William Nelson Cromwell (of the US law firm Sullivan & Cromwell) to lobby the US Congress to build a canal across Panama, and not across Nicaragua. William Nelson Cromwell ( January 17, 1854 – July 19, 1948) was an American attorney active in promotion of the Panama Canal and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, an international Law firm headquartered in New York, is one of the world's most profitable and prestigious law firms The United States Congress is the bicameral Legislature of the federal government of the United States of America, consisting of two houses Nicaragua (ˌnɪkəˈrɑgwə officially the Republic of Nicaragua () is a representative democratic republic and the largest nation in Central America
In 1902, after having run into a 10-cent Nicaraguan postal stamp produced in the US by the American Bank Note Company erroneously depicting a fuming Momotombo volcano (which was nearly dormant and stands more than 160 km (100 miles) from the proposed Nicaraguan canal path) and taking advantage of a particularly volcanic year in the Caribbean, Cromwell planted a story in the New York Sun reporting that the Momotombo volcano had erupted and caused a series of seismic shocks. Momotombo is a Volcano in Nicaragua, not far from the city of León. The Caribbean (ˌkærəˡbiən kæ'rəbiən Cariben|Caraïben or Caraïben; Caraïbe or more commonly Antilles; Caribe is a Region consisting The New York Sun was a contemporary five-day Daily newspaper published in New York City from 2002 until 2008 He thereafter sent leaflets with the above stamps pasted on them to all U.S. Senators as witness to the volcanic activity in Nicaragua. The United States Senate is the Upper house of the bicameral United States Congress, the Lower house being the House of Representatives
On June 19, 1902, three days after senators received the stamps, they voted for the Panama route for the canal. Events 1179 - The Norwegian Battle of Kalvskinnet outside Nidaros. Year 1902 ( MCMII) was a Common year starting on Wednesday (link will display calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common year starting For his lobbying efforts, Cromwell received the sum of $800,000. 
The United States, under President Theodore Roosevelt (with John Frank Stevens as Chief Engineer from 1905-1907), bought out the French equipment and excavations, and began work on May 4, 1904, after helping Panama achieve independence from Colombia. The United States of America —commonly referred to as the Theodore Roosevelt (ˈroʊzəvɛlt October 27 1858 January 6 1919 also known as T John Frank Stevens ( 25 April 1853 &ndash 2 June 1943) built the Great Northern Railway in the United States and was chief Events 1256 - The Augustinian monastic order is constituted at the Lecceto Monastery when Pope Alexander IV Year 1904 ( MCMIV) was a Leap year starting on Friday (link will display calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Leap year starting on The Separation of Panama from Colombia was formalized on 3 November 1903 with the establishment of the Republic of Panama from the Republic of Colombia In exchange for U.S. help in separating Panama from Colombia and setting it up as an independent state, Panama would give the United States control of the Panama Canal Zone. The United States of America —commonly referred to as the The United States of America —commonly referred to as the The Panama Canal Zone (Zona del Canal de Panamá was a 553 square mile (1432 km² territory inside of Panama, consisting of the Panama Canal and an area generally The United States paid Colombia $25,000,000 in 1921, 7 years after completion of the canal, for redress of President Roosevelt's role in the creation of Panama, and Colombia recognized Panama under the terms of the Thomson-Urrutia Treaty. The Thomson-Urrutia Treaty was signed on April 20, 1921 between the United States and Colombia.
Chief Engineer (1905-1907), John Frank Stevens', primary achievement in Panama was in building the infrastructure necessary to complete the canal. John Frank Stevens ( 25 April 1853 &ndash 2 June 1943) built the Great Northern Railway in the United States and was chief He rebuilt the Panama Railway and devised a system for disposing of soil from the excavations by rail. The Panama Railway or Panama Rail Road is a Railway line that links the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean across Panama in He also built proper housing for canal workers and oversaw extensive sanitation and mosquito-control programmes that eliminated yellow fever and other diseases from the Isthmus. Yellow fever (also called yellow jack, black vomit or sometimes American Plague) is an acute viral disease Stevens argued the case against a sea level canal like the French had tried to build. He successfully convinced Theodore Roosevelt of the necessity of a canal built with dams and locks. A dam is a barrier that divides waters. Dams generally serve the primary purpose of retaining water while other structures such as Floodgates, Levees A lock is a device for raising and lowering boats between stretches of water of different levels on river and canal Waterways.
A significant investment was made in eliminating disease from the area, particularly yellow fever and malaria, the causes of which had recently been discovered by Dr. Yellow fever (also called yellow jack, black vomit or sometimes American Plague) is an acute viral disease Malaria is a vector -borne Infectious disease caused by Protozoan Parasites It is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions including Walter Reed in Cuba with U.S. Army motivation during the Spanish-American War (see Health measures during the construction of the Panama Canal). Major Walter Reed, MD, ( September 13 1851 - November 23 1902) was a U The Republic of Cuba (ˈkjuːbə or) consists of the island of Cuba (the largest and second-most populous island of the Greater Antilles) Isla de la The United States Army is a military organization whose primary mission is to "provide necessary forces and capabilities. One of the greatest challenges facing the builders of the Panama Canal was dealing with the Tropical diseases rife in the area With the diseases under control, and after significant work on preparing the infrastructure, construction of an elevated canal with locks began in earnest. The Americans also gradually replaced the old French equipment with machinery designed for a larger scale of work (such as the giant hydraulic crushers supplied by the Joshua Hendy Iron Works), quickening the pace of construction, President Roosevelt had the former French machinery minted into Medals for all workers who spent at least two years on the construction to commemorate their contribution to the building of the canal. The Joshua Hendy Iron Works was an American Engineering company that existed from the 1850s to the late 1940s A mint is an industrial facility which manufactures Coins for Currency. A medal is usually a Coin -like sculpted object of metal or other material that has been engraved with an Insignia, Portrait or other artistic rendering These medals featured Roosevelt's likeness on the front, the name of the recipient on one side, and the worker's years of service, as well as a picture of the Culebra Cut on the back. The Gaillard Cut, or Culebra Cut, is a man-made valley cutting through the Continental divide in Panama. 
In 1907 US President Theodore Roosevelt appointed George Washington Goethals as Chief Engineer of the Panama Canal. Theodore Roosevelt (ˈroʊzəvɛlt October 27 1858 January 6 1919 also known as T George Washington Goethals ( June 29, 1858 - January 21, 1928) was a United States Army officer and Civil engineer The building of the canal was completed in 1914, two years ahead of the target date of June 1, 1916. Events 193 - Roman Emperor Didius Julianus is Assassinated 987 - Hugh Capet is elected Year 1916 ( MCMXVI) was a Leap year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Leap year The canal was formally opened on August 15, 1914 with the passage of the cargo ship Ancon. Events 778 - The Battle of Roncevaux Pass, at which Roland is killed Year 1914 ( MCMXIV) was a Common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common year  Coincidentally, this was also the same month that fighting in World War I (the Great War) began in Europe. World War I (abbreviated WWI; also known as the First World War, the Great War, and the War to End All World War I (abbreviated WWI; also known as the First World War, the Great War, and the War to End All
The advances in hygiene resulted in a relatively low death toll during the American construction; still, 5,609 workers died during this period (1904–1914). Hygiene refers to practices associated with ensuring good health and cleanliness  This brought the total death toll for the construction of the canal to around 27,500.
By the 1930s it was seen that water supply would be an issue for the canal; this prompted the building of the Madden Dam across the Chagres River above Gatun Lake. The Chagres River (Río Chagres is a River in central Panama. Gatun Lake (Sp Lago Gatún) is a large Artificial lake situated in the Republic of Panama; it forms a major part of the Panama Canal, carrying The dam, completed in 1935, created Alajuela Lake, which acts as additional water storage for the canal.  In 1939, construction began on a further major improvement: a new set of locks for the canal, large enough to carry the larger warships which the U. S. had under construction, or planned for future construction. The work proceeded for several years, and significant excavation was carried out on the new approach channels, but the project was canceled after World War II. World War II, or the Second World War, (often abbreviated WWII) was a global military conflict which involved a majority of the world's nations, including 
After the war, United States' control of the canal and the Canal Zone surrounding it became contentious as relations between Panama and the U. The Panama Canal Zone (Zona del Canal de Panamá was a 553 square mile (1432 km² territory inside of Panama, consisting of the Panama Canal and an area generally S. became increasingly tense. Many Panamanians felt that the canal zone rightfully belonged to Panama; student protests were met by the fencing in of the zone and an increased military presence.  Negotiations toward a new settlement began in 1974, and resulted in the Torrijos-Carter Treaties. The Torrijos-Carter Treaties (sometimes referred to in the singular as the Torrijos-Carter Treaty) are two treaties signed by the United States Signed by President of the United States Jimmy Carter and Omar Torrijos of Panama on September 7, 1977, this set in motion the process of handing the canal over to Panamanian control for free as long as Panama signed a treaty guaranteeing the permanent neutrality of the canal (Neutrality Treaty) and allowed the U. The President of the United States is the Head of state and Head of government of the United States and is the highest political official in United States by James Earl "Jimmy" Carter Jr (born October 1 1924 was the thirty-ninth President of the United States, serving from 1977 to 1981 and the recipient of the 2002 Omar Efraín Torrijos Herrera ( February 13, 1929 – August 1, 1981) was the Commander of the Panamanian National Guard Panama, officially the Republic of Panama (República de Panamá) is the southernmost country of Central America. Events 1251 BC - A Solar eclipse on this date might mark the birth of legendary Heracles at Thebes Greece. Also 1977 (album by Ash. Year 1977 ( MCMLXXVII) was a Common year starting on Saturday (link displays S. to come back anytime. Though controversial within the U. S. , the treaty led to full Panamanian control effective at noon on December 31, 1999, and control of the canal was handed over to the Panama Canal Authority (ACP). Events 406 – Vandals, Alans and Suebians cross the Rhine, beginning an invasion of Gallia. Year 1999 ( MCMXCIX) was a Common year starting on Friday (link will display full 1999 Gregorian calendar) The Panama Canal Authority ( Spanish: Autoridad del Canal de Panamá, or ACP) is the agency of the government of Panama responsible for the operation
Before this handover, the government of Panama held an international bid to negotiate a 25-year contract for operation of the canal's container shipping ports (chiefly two facilities at the Atlantic and Pacific outlets), which was won by the firm Hutchison Whampoa, a Hong Kong-based shipping concern whose owner, Li Ka Shing, is the wealthiest man in China. Hong Kong ( officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, is a territory located on China 's south coast on the Pearl River Delta, and borders Not to be confused with Martin Lee Ka Shing, the vice-chairman of Henderson Land Development. China ( Wade-Giles ( Mandarin) Chung¹kuo² is a cultural region, an ancient Civilization, and depending on perspective a National
The canal consists of artificial lakes, several improved and artificial channels, and three sets of locks. A lake (from Latin lacus) is a Terrain feature (or Physical feature) a body of Liquid on the surface of a world that is localized to the Physical geography, a channel is the physical confine of a River, slough or ocean Strait consisting of a bed and banks A lock is a device for raising and lowering boats between stretches of water of different levels on river and canal Waterways. An additional artificial lake, Alajuela Lake (known during the American era as Madden Lake), acts as a reservoir for the canal. A reservoir is most broadly a place or hollow vessel where Fluid is kept in Reserve, for later use The layout of the canal as seen by a ship passing from the Pacific end to the Atlantic is as follows:
Thus, total length of the canal is 47. 9 miles (77. 1 kilometres).
Initially the locks at Gatun had been designed as 28. 5 metres wide. In 1908 the United States Navy requested that the locks should be increased to have a width of at least 36 metres which would allow for the passage of US naval ships. Eventually a compromise was made and the locks were to be constructed to a width of 33 meters. Each lock is 300 metres long with the walls ranging in thickness from 15 metres at the base to 3 metres at the top. The central wall between the parallel locks at Gatun has a thickness of 18 metres and stands in excess of 24 metres in height. The lock gates are made from steel and measures an average of 2 metres thick, 19. 5 metres in length and stand 20 metres in height. 
(links to map & photo sources)
|Bas Obispo Reach|
|Las Cascadas Reach|
|Pedro Miguel Locks|
Tolls for the canal are decided by the Panama Canal Authority and are based on vessel type, size, and the type of cargo carried. A geographic coordinate system enables every location on the Earth to be specified in three coordinates using mainly a spherical coordinate system. See also Merchant ship Roll-on/roll-off (RORO or ro-ro Ships are ferries designed to carry wheeled Cargo such as Miraflores is the name of one of the three locks that form part of the Panama Canal and the name of the small lake that separates these locks from the Pedro Miguel The Panama Canal Authority ( Spanish: Autoridad del Canal de Panamá, or ACP) is the agency of the government of Panama responsible for the operation 
For container ships, the toll is assessed per the ship's capacity expressed in twenty-foot equivalent units or TEUs. Container ships are Cargo ships that carry all of their load in truck-size containers in a technique called Containerization. Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (often TEU or teu) is an inexact unit of cargo capacity often used to describe the capacity of Container ships and Container One TEU is the size of a container measuring 20 feet (6 m) by 8 feet (2 m) by 8. 5 feet (6 m by 2. 4 m by 2. 6 m). Effective May 1, 2007, this toll is US$54 per TEU. Events 305 - Diocletian and Maximian retire from the office of Roman Emperor. Year 2007 ( MMVII) was a Common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. A Panamax container ship may carry up to 4,400 TEU. " Panamax " ships are of the maximum dimensions that will fit through the locks of the Panama Canal. A reduced toll is charged for container ships carrying no cargo or passengers.
Most other types of vessel pay a toll per PC/UMS net ton, in which one "ton" is actually a volume of 100 cubic feet (2. Tonnage is a measure of the size or Cargo capacity of a Ship. The cubic foot is an imperial and US customary (non- metric) unit of Volume, used in the United States Canada and the United Kingdom 8 m³). CM3 redirects here If you were looking for the 3rd game in the Cooking Mama series abbreviated as CM3 see here. (The calculation of tonnage for commercial vessels is quite complex. Tonnage is a measure of the size or Cargo capacity of a Ship. ) As of 2007, this toll is US$3. 26 per ton for the first 10,000 tons, US$3. 19 per ton for the next 10,000 tons, and US$3. 14 per ton thereafter. As with container ships, a reduced toll is charged for freight ships "in ballast".
Small vessels are assessed tolls based on their length. As of 2007, these are:
|Length of vessel||Toll|
|Up to 15. 240 metres (50 ft)||US$500|
|More than 15. 240 metres (50 ft) up to 24. 384 metres (80 ft)||US$750|
|More than 24. 384 metres (80 ft) up to 30. 480 metres (100 ft)||US$1,000|
|More than 30. 480 metres (100 ft)||US$1,500|
The most expensive regular toll for canal passage to date was charged on February 24, 2008 to the Norwegian Jade cruise liner, which paid just over US$313,000. Events 303 - Galerius, Roman Emperor, publishes his edict that begins the persecution of Christians in his portion of the 2008 ( MMVIII) is the current year in accordance with the Gregorian calendar, a Leap year that started on Tuesday of the Common Vessel Class Norwegian Jade is the second of NCL's four Jewel Class ships A cruise ship or cruise liner is a Passenger ship used for pleasure voyages where the voyage itself and the ship's amenities are part of the experience  The least expensive toll was 36 cents to American adventurer Richard Halliburton who swam the canal in 1928. In many national currencies, the cent is a monetary unit that equals 1/100 of the basic monetary unit Richard Halliburton ( 9 January 1900 – presumed dead after 24 March 1939) was an American Traveler, Adventurer  The average toll is around US$54,000. The highest fee for priority passage charged through the Transit Slot Auction System was US$220,300, paid on August 24, 2006 by the Panamax tanker Erikoussa, bypassing a 90-ship queue waiting for the end of maintenance works on the Gatun locks, thus avoiding a 7-day delay. Congestion pricing or congestion charges is a system of surcharging users of a Transport network in periods of peak Demand to reduce Traffic congestion Events 49 BC - Julius Caesar 's General Gaius Scribonius Curio is defeated in the Second Battle of the Bagradas River Year 2006 ( MMVI) was a Common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. " Panamax " ships are of the maximum dimensions that will fit through the locks of the Panama Canal. The normal fee would have been just US$13,430. 
Ninety years since its opening, the canal continues to enjoy great success. Even though world shipping — and the size of ships themselves — has changed markedly since the canal was designed, it continues to be a vital link in world trade, carrying more cargo than ever before, with less overhead costs. Nevertheless, the canal certainly faces a number of potential problems.
There were fears that efficiency and maintenance would suffer following the U. Balboa is a district of Panama City, located at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal. S. withdrawal; however, this does not appear to be the case, and the canal's efficiency appears to be improving under Panamanian control.  Canal Waters Time (CWT), the average time it takes a vessel to navigate the canal, including waiting time, is a key measure of efficiency; according to the ACP, CWT is decreasing.
The Panama Canal Authority claims that the waterway's rate of accidents is at a record low. 
Increasing volumes of imports from Asia which previously landed on the U. S. west coast ports are now passing through the canal to the American east coast.  The total number of vessel transits in fiscal year 1999 was 14,336; this fell to a low of 13,154 in 2003, due at least in part to global economic factors, but has risen to 14,194 in 2006 (the canal’s fiscal year runs from October to September). A fiscal year (or financial year, or sometimes budget year) is a period used for calculating annual ("yearly" Financial statements in Businesses However, this has been coupled with a steady rise in average ship size and in the numbers of Panamax vessels passing, so that the total tonnage carried has risen steadily from 227. " Panamax " ships are of the maximum dimensions that will fit through the locks of the Panama Canal. 9 million PC/UMS tons in fiscal year 1999 to 296. Tonnage is a measure of the size or Cargo capacity of a Ship. 0 million tons in 2006.  Given the negative impact of vessel size on the rate of transits (for example, the inability of large vessels to cross in the Gaillard Cut), this represents significant overall growth in canal capacity, despite the reduction in total transits. The Gaillard Cut, or Culebra Cut, is a man-made valley cutting through the Continental divide in Panama. The canal set a traffic record on March 13, 2006, when 1,070,023 PC/UMS tons transited the waterway, beating the previous record of 1,005,551 PC/UMS tons set on March 16, 2004. Events 1138 - Cardinal Gregorio Conti is elected Antipope as Victor IV, succeeding Anacletus II. Events 597 BC - Babylonians capture Jerusalem, replace Jehoiachin with Zedekiah as king "MMIV" redirects here For the Modest Mouse album see " Baron von Bullshit Rides Again " 
The canal administration has invested nearly US$1 billion in widening and modernising the canal, with the aim of increasing capacity by 20%.  The canal authority cites a number of major improvements, including the widening and straightening of the Gaillard Cut to reduce restrictions on crossing vessels, the deepening of the navigational channel in Gatun Lake to reduce draft restrictions and improve water supply, and the deepening of the Atlantic and Pacific entrances of the canal. This is supported by new vessels, such as a new drill barge and suction dredger, and an increase of the tug boat fleet by 20%. In addition, improvements have been made to the operating machinery of the canal, including an increased and improved tug locomotive fleet, the replacement of more than 16 kilometres of locomotive track, and new lock machinery controls. Improvements have been made to the traffic management system to allow more efficient control over ships in the canal. 
The withdrawal of the U. S. has allowed Panama to sell excess electricity produced by the canal's dams, which was previously prohibited by the U. S. government. Only 25% of the hydroelectric power produced in the canal system is required to run the canal. Hydroelectricity is electricity generated by Hydropower, ie the production of power through use of the gravitational force of falling water
The canal is presently handling more vessel traffic than had ever been envisioned by its builders. In 1934 it was estimated that the maximum capacity of the canal would be around 80 million tons per year; as noted above, canal traffic in 2005 consisted of 278. 8 million tons of shipping.
Despite the gains which have been made in efficiency, the canal is soon expected to approach its maximum capacity. An additional complication is that the proportion of large (close to Panamax-sized) ships transiting the canal is increasing steadily; this may result in a further reduction in the number of transits, even if cargo tonnage rises. In any case, if the canal is to continue to serve the needs of world shipping, action will be required to increase its capacity.
Despite having enjoyed a privileged position for many years, the canal is increasingly facing competition from other quarters. Although remote, speculation continues over a possible new canal through Colombia, Nicaragua or the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Mexico, that will be capable of accommodating post-Panamax vessels, and two private proposals for a railway linking ports on the two coasts. The Inter-Oceanic Nicaragua Canal is a proposed waterway that would connect the Caribbean Sea, and therefore the Atlantic Ocean, with the Pacific Ocean The Isthmus of Tehuantepec is an Isthmus in Mexico. It represents the shortest distance between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean, and The United Mexican States ( or commonly Mexico (ˈmɛksɪkoʊ () is a federal constitutional Republic in North America.
Critics have also voiced their concerns over the planned increase in canal tolls, suggesting that the Suez Canal may become a viable alternative for cargo en route from Asia to the U. The Suez Canal is a Canal in Egypt. Opened in 1869 it allows Water transportation between Europe and Asia without circumnavigation S. east coast. Nevertheless, demand for the Panama Canal continues to rise.
The increasing rate of melting of ice in the Arctic Ocean has led to speculation that the Northwest Passage may become viable for commercial shipping at some point in the future. The Arctic Ocean, located in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Arctic north polar region is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major The Northwest Passage is a sea route through the Arctic Ocean, along the northern coast of North America via waterways amidst the Canadian Arctic Archipelago This route would save 9,300 kilometres (5,800 mi) on the route from Asia to Europe compared with the Panama Canal, possibly leading to a diversion of some traffic to that route. However, such a route would still hold significant problems due to ice, as well as unresolved territorial issues. 
A significant problem is the decreasing average amount of water in Gatún Lake, caused largely by deforestation. Gatun Lake (Sp Lago Gatún) is a large Artificial lake situated in the Republic of Panama; it forms a major part of the Panama Canal, carrying Deforestation is the conversion of Forested areas to non-forest land for use such as Arable land, Pasture, urban use logged area or wasteland 202,000 m³ (52 million U. S. gallons) of fresh water from the lake are drained into the sea by the locks every time a ship transits the canal; and although there is sufficient annual rainfall to replenish the water used by the canal in a year, the seasonal nature of this rainfall means that the water must be stored from one rainy season to the next. Although Gatún Lake can store some of this water, the rainforest has traditionally played a major role by absorbing this rain, and then releasing it at a steady rate into the lake. Rainforests are Forests characterized by high Rainfall with definitions setting minimum normal annual rainfall between 1750–2000 mm (68-78 inches With the reduction in vegetation, rain flows quickly down the deforested slopes into the lake, from where the excess is spilled out into the ocean. This results in a shortfall of water during the dry season, when there is comparatively little water flowing to the lake to replenish it. Deforestation also causes silt to be more easily eroded from the area around Gatún Lake and collect at its bottom, reducing its capacity. Silt is Soil or rock derived Granular material of a Grain size between sand and clay
With demand rising, the canal is positioned to be a significant feature of world shipping for the foreseeable future. However, changes in shipping patterns — particularly the increasing numbers of post-Panamax ships — will necessitate changes to the canal if it is to retain a significant market share. It is anticipated that by 2011, 37% of the world's container ships will be too large for the present canal, and hence a failure to expand would result in a significant loss of market share. The maximum sustainable capacity of the present canal, given some relatively minor improvement work is estimated at between 330 and 340 million PC/UMS tons per year; it is anticipated that this capacity will be reached between 2009 and 2012. Close to 50% of transiting vessels are already using the full width of the locks. 
An enlargement scheme similar to the 1939 Third Lock Scheme, to allow for a greater number of transits and the ability to handle larger ships, has been under consideration for some time. The history of the Panama Canal goes back almost to the earliest explorers of the Americas.  This enlargement scheme had been approved by the government of Panama.  This proposal to expand the Canal was approved on a national referendum by approximately 80% on October 22, 2006. The Panama Canal expansion referendum was held on October 22, 2006, when the citizens of Panama approved the Panama Canal expansion Events 202 BC - Hannibal Barca, leader of the Carthaginians, is defeated by the Roman legions under Scipio Africanus Year 2006 ( MMVI) was a Common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. 
The current plan is for two new flights of locks: one to the east of the existing Gatún locks, and one south west of Miraflores locks, each supported by approach channels. The Panama Canal Expansion, or--> Third Set of Locks Project is a Megaproject that will expand the Panama Canal. Each flight will ascend from ocean level direct to the Gatún Lake level; the existing two-stage ascent at Miraflores / Pedro Miguel will not be replicated. The new lock chambers will feature sliding gates, doubled for safety, and will be 427 metres (1,400 ft) long, 55 metres (180 ft) wide, and 18. 3 metres (60 ft) deep; this will allow for the transit of vessels with a beam of up to 49 metres (160 ft), an overall length of up to 366 metres (1,200 ft) and a draft of up to 15 metres (50 ft), equivalent to a container ship carrying around 12,000 20-foot (6. 1 m) long containers (TEU).
The new locks will be supported by new approach channels, including a 6. 2 kilometre (3. 8 mi) channel at Miraflores from the locks to the Gaillard Cut, skirting around Miraflores Lake. Each of these channels will be 218 metres (715 ft) wide, which will require post-Panamax vessels to navigate the channels in one direction at a time. The Gaillard Cut and the channel through Gatún Lake will be widened to no less than 280 metres (918 ft) on the straight portions and no less than 366 metres (1,200 ft) on the bends. The maximum level of Gatún Lake will be raised from reference height 26. 7 metres (87. 5 ft) to 27. 1 metres (89 ft).
Each flight of locks will be accompanied by nine water reutilisation basins (three per lock chamber), each basin being approximately 70 metres (230 ft) wide, 430 metres (1410 ft) long and 5. 50 metres (18 ft) deep. These gravity-fed basins will allow 60% of the water used in each transit to be reused; the new locks will consequently use 7% less water per transit than each of the existing lock lanes. The deepening of Gatún Lake, and the raising of its maximum water level, will also provide significant extra water storage capacity. These measures are intended to allow the expanded canal to operate without the construction of new reservoirs.
The estimated cost of the project is US$5. 25 billion. The project is designed to allow for an anticipated growth in traffic from 280 million PC/UMS tons in 2005 to nearly 510 million PC/UMS tons in 2025; the expanded canal will have a maximum sustainable capacity of approximately 600 million PC/UMS tons per year. Tolls will continue to be calculated based on vessel tonnage, and will not depend on the locks used.
The new locks are expected to open for traffic in 2015. The present locks, which will be 100 years old by that time, will then have greater access for maintenance, and are projected to continue operating indefinitely.  An article in the February 2007 issue of Popular Mechanics magazine describes the plans for the canal, focusing on the engineering aspects of the expansion project. 
On September 3, 2007, work commenced on the expansion of the canal, with thousands of Panamanians at Paraiso, Panama City, witnessing a huge explosion bite into a hill. Events 36 BC - In the Battle of Naulochus, Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, Admiral of Octavian, defeats Sextus Pompeius Year 2007 ( MMVII) was a Common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. Panama, officially the Republic of Panama (República de Panamá) is the southernmost country of Central America. Panama City (Ciudad de Panamá is the Capital and largest city of the Republic of Panama. An explosion is a sudden increase in Volume and release of Energy in an extreme manner usually with the generation of high Temperatures and the release However the event was marred by the death of a worker, killed when his truck hit an electricity pylon. The first phase of the project will be dry excavations of the 218 meter (715 ft) wide trench connecting the Culebra Cut with the Pacific coast, removing 47 million cubic meters of earth and rock. A trench is a type of excavation or depression in the ground Trenches are generally defined by being deeper than they are wide (as opposed to a wider Gully or Ditch The Gaillard Cut, or Culebra Cut, is a man-made valley cutting through the Continental divide in Panama. A country's Pacific coast is the part of its Coast facing the Pacific Ocean. CM3 redirects here If you were looking for the 3rd game in the Cooking Mama series abbreviated as CM3 see here. The tendering process for the $3 billion project to build a new set of locks will begin later this year.