Panama, June 21, 2001. The new Panama Canal budget for fiscal year 2002, currently under review in Panama’s legislature, includes a major investment project to deepen the navigation channel along Gatun Lake and Gaillard Cut by one meter.

This deepening will increase water storage capacity in Gatun Lake by approximately 300 million gallons of water a day. It will also help the Panama Canal maintain maximum draft during the dry months of the year.

The project includes dredging from the south end of Gatun Locks to the north end of Pedro Miguel Locks. It would take an estimated eight years to complete, during which the drillboat Thor, the dipper dredge Christensen and the suction dredge Mindi would remove some 7 million cubic meters of material.