One of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken, the Panama Canal shortcut greatly reduces the time for ships to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, enabling them to avoid the lengthy, hazardous Cape Horn route around the southernmost tip of South America via the Drake Passage or Strait of Magellan and the even less popular route through the Arctic Archipelago and the Bering Strait.  Although the Panama Canal needed to be only 40 percent as long as the Suez Canal, it was much more of an engineering challenge due to the combination of tropical rain forests, debilitating climate, the need for canal locks, and the lack of any ancient route to follow. Important Details Building the Panama Canal took a vast amount of time to finish. Expansion Projects The Panama Canal expansion project started in 2007 and was completed in 2016. Here the upper Chagres River feeds the high level canal stretch. But in 1906 Stevens, who had seen the Chagres in full flood, was summoned to Washington; he declared a sea-level approach to be "an entirely untenable proposition".  The Nicaraguan parliament has approved plans for the 280 km (174 mi) canal through Nicaragua, and according to the deal, the company will be responsible for operating and maintaining the canal for a 50-year period.  This is sometimes misinterpreted as the "99-year lease" because of misleading wording included in article 22 of the agreement. ", "A Chinese company wants to build a new canal in America (news in Estonian)", "A New Canal Through Central America Could Have Devastating Consequences", "China in talk with Columbia over transcontinental railway: Colombian president", China goes on the rails to rival Panama canal, "Canal mania hits central America with three more Atlantic-Pacific projects". The earliest European colonists recognized this potential, and several proposals for a canal were made. In the first decade after the transfer to Panamanian control, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) invested nearly US$1 billion in widening and modernizing the canal, with the aim of increasing capacity by 20 percent.  Panama Canal pilots were initially unprepared to handle the significant flight deck overhang of aircraft carriers. In 1904 the Americans took over the failed French effort to build a canal at the Isthmus of Panama. Cenni storici del Canale di Panama", United States Army Center of Military History, The Panama Canal—A history and description of the enterprise, Theodore Roosevelt and the Heroes of Panama, Putting the canal on the map: Panamanian Agenda-setting and the 1973 Security Council Meetings, Making the Dirt Fly, Building the Panama Canal, Early stereographic images of the construction, A.B. In addition, the tidal levels of the oceans on either side of the Panama Canal differ. The Panama Canal remains one of the chief revenue sources for Panama. Completed in 1989 by the Port of Antwerp, which De Nul helped build, the company still has engineers and specialists who were part of that project. The U.S acquired the 'Panama Canal' project from the French for $40 million. As with container ships, reduced tolls are charged for freight ships "in ballast", $4.19, $4.12, $4.05 respectively.  He was succeeded by John Frank Stevens, a self-educated engineer who had built the Great Northern Railroad. Having settled on the Panama route, the United States opposed this proposal. Tens of thousands of people, mostly labourers from Barbados, Martinique, and Guadeloupe, worked on the project. In 1513, Spanish explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa became the first European to discover that the Isthmus of Panama was just a slim bridge separating the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Panama is initially owned by Colombia.. A Panamax cargo ship typically has a deadweight tonnage (DWT) of 65,000–80,000 tons, but its actual cargo is restricted to about 52,500 tons because of the 12.6 m (41.2 ft) draft restrictions within the canal. The length of the Panama Canal from shoreline to shoreline is about 40 miles (65 km) and from deep water in the Atlantic (more specifically, the Caribbean Sea) to deep water in the Pacific about 50 miles (82 km). The Bridge of the Americas (Spanish: Puente de las Américas) at the Pacific side is about a third of a degree east of the Colón end on the Atlantic side. , During the last one hundred years, the Panama Canal Authority has appointed a few "Panama Canal Honorary Pilots". The first thing to say about the building of the Panama Canal is that, started by the French in 1881 and given up as a bad job in 1894, it wasn’t as cleverly done as our British canals.