The Americas

Panama takes reservations for transit through expanded canal

The Panama Canal is taking reservations for ships to transit the waterway's new locks beginning June 27, the day after a $5.25 billion expansion is inaugurated.

The Panama Canal Authority says it processed 25 slots in the first hours since reservations opened.

Four per day are reserved for super-large "New Panamax" vessels, as are the usual 25 a day for "Panamax" ships that pass through the old locks.

The first slot went to a Japanese vessel carrying liquefied natural gas. Gas shipping between Asia and the United States is one of the new businesses that canal authorities are targeting with the expansion.

Canal administrator Jorge Luis Quijano said Monday that officials are pleased with the initial response and hope more and more vessels will pass through the expanded canal.