Twelve GRIL 8300T and eight GRIL 8600T rough terrain cranes have been ordered by the ‘Grupo Unido por el Canal’ joint venture, which includes Italian contractor Impregilo, Spanish firm Sacyr Vallerhermoso, Portuguese maritime engineering firm Jan De Nul, and Panama’s Urbanas Constructora.

Delivery of the Locatelli cranes marked the beginning of the expansion works, which will eventually see the navigational channels in the Gatun Lake and Culebra Cut sections deepened, as well as widening the Culebra Cut section of the canal.

Work on the canal is in response to increased levels of commercial shipping traffic, with more shipping companies opting for Post-Panamax container ships with significantly higher TEU capacities.

Locatelli’s GRIL 8300T cranes, with a maximum boom length of 25.5m, are intended to provide the more versatile, manoeuvrable option, while the GRIL 8600Ts 10.1m to 32.3m booms will handle heavy lifting operations.

The new locks, one on the Atlantic side and one on the Pacific side of the canal, will each have three chambers with three water reutilisation basins each.