In celebration of 20 years, the Panama Canal Authority outlined some of its achievements accomplished in these two decades, herebelow:
- The Panama Canal Modernization and Improvement Program intensified, aimed at upgrading infrastructure and equipment at the waterway.
- The Canal adopted a new toll structure, due to the increasingly diverse traffic passing through the waterway and replacing the structure that had been in place since its opening.
- The Panama Canal launched its Expansion Program proposal with more than three-quarters of Panamanians approved of the proposal in a national referendum.
- In September 2007, the Panama Canal began the construction of the new lane of traffic with two new lock complexes, prompting investments in similar expansion projects around the world, particularly along the U.S. East Coast.
- The Panama Canal launched a reforestation and conservation programs, which to-date is responsible for over 2 million planted trees in the Canal’s Watershed and other parts of the country.
- Transit time (Canal Waters Time) decreased from 33 to 23 hours, marking the growing efficiency and reliability at the Panama Canal.
- In June 2016, the waterway welcomed its first liquefied natural gas (LNG) vessel, marking the start to the new segment at the Panama Canal.
- The Panama Canal launched the Green Connection Environmental Recognition Program, recognizing customers who demonstrate excellent environmental stewardship.
- The waterway had welcomed more than 1,500 Neopanamax vessels, surpassing tonnage and daily transit expectations.
- The waterway installed a floating solar panel park pilot program on Miraflores Lake—the first of its kind in Latin America.
- Four LNG ships successfully transited the Neopanamax Locks in a single day.
- The Panama Canal became the first Latin American organization to join the Global Industry Alliance, marking its position as an environmental steward for the shipping industry.
- In its first 105 years, the Panama Canal helped reduce 800 million tons of CO2 emissions, a figure accelerated by the shorter traveling distance and larger cargo carrying capacity offered by the Expanded Canal.
- The Atlantic Bridge was constructed over the Panama Canal and opened, becoming the world’s longest pre-stressed concrete cable-stayed bridge.
- In 2018 the Panama Canal welcomed Norwegian Bliss, the largest passenger vessel to ever transit the waterway.
- The Panama Canal launched its Environmental Economic Incentives Program (PIEA).
- Less than 20 years after the transfer, the Panama Canal had come to welcome 8,000 Neopanamax vessels and connect 144 routes and 1,700 ports across 160 countries.
During the celebration, the President of the Board of Directors and Minister for Canal Affairs, Aristides Royo stated
the meaning and significance of the Panama Canal in Panamanian hands fills us with pride. We fought during the 20th century to see a single flag waving in the national territory. Twenty years later we manage the Canal more efficiently.