Panama canal was before under the Colombian management, then came the French and America before the panamian management took over in 1999. The canal had been faced by various challenges including ships traffic jam as the number rose from 1,000 in 1914 when it was opened to 14,702 in 2008. By the year 2008, more than 815,000 ships had used the panama canal most of them bigger than the initial plans that had been made (ACP, 2009). Panamax is the biggest ships that travel through the canal at the present time. The canal was named by the American society of civil engineers as among the seven worlds wonders.
Due to the increased rate of international maritime trade, increase in volumes in trade and levels of containerization, there has been a keener plan of investment of more funds in canals and the ports by the shipping lines in order to curb the growing rate of demand and needs. Since the Panama Canal does not have the capacity to accommodate all this pressure, it has been faced by several issues mostly relating to traffic congestion of the ships.
The canal is known to hold a great record in the maritime trade but at the same time it has been known to lose its market shares to Suez canal,which is another route used in the same type of trade, and this is because the panama canal cannot accommodate ships more than 5,000 TEUs. The canal has also been hit by several problems,which include: a decrease in demand of transit, an old model and structure of the canal, the saturation point is reached early, lack of potential to redirect traffic congestion to other potential alternatives with longer routes, their development is unsustainable and also their level of trade in the maritime industry has been low. These problems led to the proposal for the expansion of the panama canal by the panama canal authority as it was the best solution for the business of shipping,rather than ignoring,so that,by 2014, the capacity would be doubled allowing more ships to pass through the canal. The components that make up the programme of the expansion of the Panama Canal include: 1. Widening and making the Atlantic entrance deep. 2. Construction of the panama locks of the Atlantic post. 3. Increasing the working conditions of Lake Gatum to a maximum level. 4. Widening and making the steering channels of Culebra Cut and Lake Gatun deep. 5. Digging up the access channel of the post panamax locks. 6. Constructing locks on the pacific post panamax. 7. Widening and making the entrance of the pacific deep. Panama canal expansion will double its capacity come 2014 as it will allow larger ships to pass through. The plan for the canal expansion was presented on 24th April, 2006 by martin torrijos who was then the president of panama. The proposal was approved by the citizens of panama through a national referendum that was carried out in October 2006, and it was voted in by 76.8% of the population (ACP, 2009). The citizens of panama approved the expansion of the canal as it would allow larger vessels to transit and increase the level of maritime trade. The project has started to be executed by the Panama Canal authority, and it will take at least eight years to be fully implemented as they are following a well illustrated plan and it will cost them 5.25 billion US dollars. As much as this project is of much assistance to the citizens and the republic of panama, there will be a direct benefit to the maritime industry internationally through