Panama Canal Celebrates 20 Years With Flag Raising

With the raising of the national flag by the President of the Republic, Laurentino Cortizo, in the Administration Building, Panama celebrated today the 20 years of transfer of the Canal, during which the interoceanic highway has contributed to the growth and development of the country.

President Cortizo raised the flag on the outside of the Canal Administration Building, right in the same place where 20 years ago the transfer of the US interoceanic highway to Panamanian hands took place.

At noon on December 31, 1999, Panama assumed full control over the operation and administration of the Canal, as well as the surrounding areas, in compliance with the treaties signed in 1977 between the head of the Panamanian government, General Omar Torrijos, and the President of the United States, James Carter.

Panama canal 20 year celebration
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In the ceremony on Tuesday, the President of the Board of Directors and Minister for Canal Affairs, Aristides Royo, and the administrator of the road, Ricaurte Vásquez Morales, as well as ex-plaintiffs of the Republic, former directors and administrators of the Canal, as well as negotiators participated of the Torrijos-Carter Treaties and protagonists of the deed of January 9, 1964.

Minister Royo stressed that “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. »

Administrator Vásquez Morales said that “over the course of these two decades, we have fulfilled our mandate to operate the Canal in a safe, continuous, efficient and profitable manner.”

He reaffirmed the commitment of the Panama Canal and its team to overcome the challenges facing the interoceanic path towards the future in the context of a world in constant change, especially in the face of factors such as “climate change and its effects, which clearly impact us ”

Here are a series of milestones reached during the 20 years of Panamanian administration of the Canal:

  • December 31, 1999
    Panama assumes administration of the Canal.
  • October 22, 2006
    Panamanians decide, by referendum, to expand the Canal.
  • September 3, 2007
    The construction of the expanded Canal officially begins.
  • September 4, 2010
    Fortune Plum bulk carrier becomes one million transit through the Canal.
  • July 14, 2011
    First emptying in the new locks of the Panama Canal.
  • June 9, 2016
    Baroque test vessel crosses the new Atlantic locks.
  • June 26, 2016
    Inauguration of the expanded Canal.
  • May 14, 2018
    Transit the largest cruise ship to date: the Norwegian Bliss, which has more than 168,000 gross tons and capacity for almost 5,000 passengers.
  • May 15, 2019
    The Triton vessel became the largest ship that has crossed the expanded Panama Canal. The ship carries 15,313 TEU (20-foot containers).
  • August 2, 2019
    Panama Canal inaugurates the Atlantic Bridge, which now holds the world record as the cable-stayed concrete bridge, four lanes, with the longest visible light at 530 meters.
  • August 27, 2019
    The Panama Canal opens its first interactive center in Santiago de Veraguas, as a vehicle to connect Panamanians, mainly students, with the route, its history, operation and impact for the country and the world.
  • December 14, 2019
    The container ship APL Barcelona becomes the neopanamax 8,000 vessel in transit the expanded Canal.


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