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The panama canal (spanish canal de panam) is an artificial 82 km (51 mi) waterway in panama that connects the atlantic ocean with the pacific ocean. The canal cuts across the isthmus of panama and is a conduit for maritime trade. Canal locks are at each end to lift ships up to gatun lake, an artificial lake created to reduce the amount of excavation work required for the canal, 26 m (85 ft) above sea level, and then lower the ships at the other end. Panama canal implements temporary relief measures for customers amid economic uncertainty our commitment to safe, continued world trade panama canal facilitates transit of holland americas zaandam and rotterdam for humanitarian reasons panama canal backs efforts to expedite return home of the passengers and crew on holland americas zaandam. Panama canal, the lock-type canal that connects the atlantic and pacific oceans through the narrow isthmus of panama. The length of the panama canal from shoreline to shoreline is about 40 miles (65 km). It was completed in 1914 and is one of the two most strategic artificial waterways in the world. The panama canal expansion project (spanish ampliacin del canal de panam), also called the third set of locks project, doubled the capacity of the panama canal by adding a new lane of traffic allowing for a larger number of ships, and increasing the width and depth of the lanes and locks allowing larger ships to pass. The new ships, called new panamax, are about one and a half times the previous panamaxsize and can carry over twice as much cargo. After an intensive construction program (2009-2016), the cocoli and agua clara locks added a third lane to the panama canal for the transit of neopanamax vessels. Since its inauguration on june 26, 2016, the expanded canal not only exceeded traffic expectations,. Panama canal dangers goethals focused efforts on culebra cut, the clearing of the mountain range between gamboa and pedro miguel. Excavation of the nearly 9-mile stretch became an around-the-clock. Meet the country that changed the horizon and transformed the world map. Since 1914 the 51-mile- (82-km-) long panama canal, which connects the atlantic and pacific oceans, has afforded a long-sought shortcut for shipping and assures the countrys standing as one of the most strategic transportation hubs of the world. The canal also secures panamas ongoing role in international affairs and world commerce. The canal and remaining territory, known as the canal area, was returned to panama at noon (local panama time) on december 31, 1999. Additionally, from 1979 to 1999, a bi-national transitional panama canal commission ran the canal, with an american leader for the first decade and a panamanian administrator for the second.