The Americas

Panama Canal's new, expanded locks at 'full operability'

FILE - In this May 11, 2016 file photo, ships transit through the Panama Canal near Panama City. Originally scheduled to be concluded in October 2014, the newly expanded Panama Canal will be inaugurated on June 26. The consortium designing and building the Panama Canal’s new set of expanded locks, designed to accommodate massive ships known as “New Panamax," said Wednesday, June 1, 2016 they are working at full capacity and ready to receive their first ships. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco, File)

FILE - In this May 11, 2016 file photo, ships transit through the Panama Canal near Panama City. Originally scheduled to be concluded in October 2014, the newly expanded Panama Canal will be inaugurated on June 26. The consortium designing and building the Panama Canal’s new set of expanded locks, designed to accommodate massive ships known as “New Panamax," said Wednesday, June 1, 2016 they are working at full capacity and ready to receive their first ships. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco, File)  (The Associated Press)

The consortium designing and building the Panama Canal's new set of expanded locks says they are working at full capacity and ready to receive their first ships.

Grupo Unidos por el Canal SA says the locks were "brought to full operability" Tuesday.

GUPC said Wednesday in a statement that the system "works to perfection."

The locks are designed to accommodate massive ships known as "New Panamax" that are too large for the previous ones.

A formal inauguration of the $5.25 billion canal expansion is planned for June 26. The project was originally supposed to be completed in October 2014.

GUPC is led by Italy's Salini Impregilo and also comprises Spain's Sacyr Vallehermoso, Belgium's Jan De Nul and Panama's Constructora Urbana SA.