Freight forwarder Geodis Wilson has won a $50m contract to transport 16 new 4,000 tonne lock gates for the expansion of the Panama Canal.
The new lock chambers will enable post-Panamax containerships to transit the canal connecting the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Post-Panamax ships are more than 360 metres long, 50 metres wide and have drafts of up to 15 metres.
Under the contract with Italian manufacturer Cimolai, it will start deliveries early next year.
An initial vessel, carrying four of the gates will depart from Italy in February 2013 and will be followed by a further three shipments throughout the year.
The project is scheduled for completion in December 2013.
The new gates are part of the large-scale expansion plan by the Panama Canal Authority that is designed to double the capacity of the Panama Canal by 2014.
Geodis Wilson has devised a special lashing system to secure the gates during transport, which will be via semi-submersible vessels from Italy to Panama. In addition, the inland transport, loading and unloading operations will be coordinated by Geodis Wilson, in cooperation with Sarens NV and STX Pan Ocean.