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100 Years of The Panama Canal

Posted by: Terramar Destinations on: May 14, 2014

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The official countdown began at the beginning of the current year. On August 15th 2014 The Panama Canal will be celebrating it’s 100th birthday along with a century of paving the way for modern trade, uniting the world and the celebrations will be nothing short of spectacular. In fact, the celebratory events began since January, but one thing is for sure; the Panamanian’s will surely save the best for last.  

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The International waterway and the world’s most important trade route is 48 miles 0r 77 kilometers long and connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific via de the Caribbean Sea. An artificial lake, which lies 85 ft. above sea level, was created in order to reduce the amount of excavation with locks on both ends to lift and lower ships. This all began in 1881 by the French who had already succeeded in building the Suez Canal at the command of Ferdinand de Lesseps and was the chosen man to build the most important maritime trade route in modern history. Unfortunately, due to lack of due-diligence in terms of climate, geography, and health risks, the French were plagued with financial and health difficulties which led them to abandon the project 8 years after they had begun. The United States saw the opportunity to take over as they too were looking to establish more effective trade commerce. In 1903 The Hay-Herran Treaty was signed by both the United States and Panama, which gave the U.S. the power to finish the construction and indefinitely administer the canal. Ten years and 50,000 people later the Panama Canal was officially completed & inaugurated on August 15th 1914. The SS Ancon was an American steamship that became the first ship to officially transit the Panama Canal on the day of its inauguration.   

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All throughout the 2oth century, The United States was involved in several conformations with the newly established Panamanian state. It wasn’t until 1977 that the Torrijos-Carter Treaties were signed that led to the transition process that eventually culminated on December 31st 1999 when Panama took over complete control of the canal and the adjacent lands. 

Today, the canal operates 24 hours a day and more than 15,000 vessels transit the canal each year paying tolls of up to $317 dollars. From cruise ships, to cargo ships and oils and gas transports, to individual boats, the canal is the gateway between two worlds. Construction of a set of new locks began in 2006, which will allow for a third transit lane intended for larger ships. Following up on demand for more international trade due to increasing globalization.

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The country of Panama is today a dollar-based economy resting on a well-developed services sector, which includes the canal and accounts for 80% of its GDP. There is absolutely no doubt that the country has become such a mecca for international investment and tourism thanks to the canal and its modern business practices. The booming economy, world logistics center and natural habitat have made Panama one of the most desirable places to visit. One only needs to visit Panama City once to realize why it is at the top of everyone’s list. It is also thanks to the canals importance that Panama has become a tourism haven as well. The new Panama Convention Center, on the banks of the Panama Canal is set to be completed by the beginning of 2015. There is not a reason in the world why you shouldn’t visit Panama, especially with Terramar Destinations.

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