AUGUST 30, 2012 — Belgian heavy lift and special transport group Sarens is to transport and install the 16 giant new lock gates being installed as part of the Panama Canal expansion project.
The gates weigh between 1,900 and 4.300 t and measure 58.7 m x 10.0 m x 34.7 m. They have been designed in the Netherlands and are being produced by Italian steel manufacturer CIMOLAI.
In February 2013 Sarens is scheduled to transport the gates from the CIMOLAI factory in San Giorgio di Nogaro along the Aussa-Corno canal to Trieste. This transport will consist out of four transports of four gates each. They will be moved onto a barge using Sarens SPMTs (Self-Propelled Modular Trailers) on a barge. In Trieste Sarens will load the gates onto a STX sea-going vessel. These moves will take about 15 days per transport.
The STX vessel will then sail to Panama where eight lock gates will be unloaded at the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal, using SPMTs, and stored. The other eight lock doors will be unloaded from the STX vessel and will then be be brought one by one to the Pacific side of the Canal by barge via the existing Panama locks. At the Pacific side, Sarens will do the load-in to the storage area using SPTMs.
The locks are part of a new lock complex that is being built in a separate bypass next to the existing locks. The new locks will be able to accommodate vessels up to 13,000 TEU, as compared with the present 5,000 TEU limit.
The renovation and enlargement of the Panama Canal is scheduled for completion in 2014, in time for the Canal's 100th birthday.