27 December, 2013: The expansion of the Panama Canal is being hailed as a colossal undertaking to help improve the already highly profitable venture. 

With new engineering tools, techniques and methods in use, the expansion of the “big ditch” is set to be finished in 2015 — a stunningly fast turnaround in comparison to the previous effort by the French and Americans over 100 years before. The Republic of Panama will see huge benefits from its newly outfitted, enlarged waterway, including tax revenue, tourism revenue from cruises, and the world’s prestige and attention once more. 

9 Facts about the Panama Canal Expansion 

1- The cost will be over $5 billion dollars 

2 — The estimate time for completion is 8 years — set for 2015 

3 — Two sets of locks are added on both the Atlantic and Pacific side of the isthmus 

4 — The width and the length of the locks will increase by 160% 

5 — The allowed length of ships will increase from 965ft to 1200ft 

6 — The allowed width of ships will increase from 106ft to 160ft 

7 — Container load will increase from 4800 containers/ship to 12,500 containers/ship 

8 — The total annual tonnage traveling through the Panama Canal will increase from 275 million tons to 600 million tons 

9 — Materials used : 

1500 tons of gelignite
3600 tons of ammonium nitrate explosives
5 million cubic meters of concrete
1.12 million tons of cement
436,000 tons of volcanic ash or slag from blast furnaces
279,000 tons of reinforcing steel
47,200 tons of structural steel for the lock gates
20,000 tons of steel for the lock valves