There are few man made features in this world which carry more importance than the Panama Canal does. This canal has a unique property which no other man made features can match. This canal connects the two biggest oceans in the world with each other. The Panama Canal is a canal of huge size. It is a major canal for shipping in the region. The canal runs through the Isthmus of Panama, it connects the Pacific Ocean with the Atlantic Ocean in the Central American region. If you plan to visit this region, it is better than you visit it in the winter season. The summers are too hot and humid in this area and it may not be very convenient for you to visit the region in summers.
Panama Canal is a world famous canal. It is popular not only because it connects the two biggest oceans of the world, but also because it was a huge project from engineering point of view. The two massive water bodies were to be connected to each other. It took a lot of time and the engineers really needed to concentrate fully on the project. The project after its completion has proved itself to be extremely successful as a canal. The trade between the two oceans and the continents located around these oceans has increased a lot due to the construction of this canal. In the earlier days if a ship had to carry some goods form Africa or Europe to the Western coast of South America or even North America, the ship had to follow the route near Cape Horn. Cape Horn is the southern tip of the continent of South America. It was a long travel and this was the reason that shipping and trade between such parts of the world was uncommon. With the construction of this canal the route has been reduced to half of its original length. The obvious result is that the canal is being frequently used to transfer goods from one part of the world to the other. If you travel through the earlier route, you have to travel more than fourteen thousand miles by the sea while with the construction of this canal, if you have to travel between San Francisco and New York while using this water way, you only need to travel six thousand miles. The distance is reduced to a half of the distance which ships had to travel in earlier days. This reduction of traveling time and distance is an obvious advantage for the frequent travelers and businesses.
The idea of constructing a canal here at Panama is a very old one. If you look at the historical facts, even in the 1600s people were interested in building canal here. It was a massive project and no one dared to start off with it before 1880s. In 1880s the project started with the French leading it from the front. The French started off with this project but were not able to complete it. There were lots and lots of accidents and more than 22,000 workers died due to these accidents. The project was topped than and it was actually completed by the United States of America in the 20th century. The canal officially opened in 1914.
The construction of this canal was not an easy task. The canal is 48 miles long. The 48 miles of this canal were built after passing through a lot of problems. It was not easy to construct this canal. There were a lot of epidemics like yellow fever and malaria. There were frequent landslides. All these incidents slowed down the process of construction of this canal. More than 5,000 workers died in the final attempt of construction of this canal which was led by the United States.
The canal is a huge engineering project and its maintenance is very important. The Panama Canal has proved itself to be a very useful canal till the day it has become operative. The canal has seen at least 14,000 ships passing through it every year. Cargo of more than two hundred million tons has passed through this canal annually. The project has thus proved itself to be a very successful project from economic point of view.
It takes a ship some nine hours to pass through this canal. The canal is big enough to let the yachts as well as large sized commercial ships to pass through it. However there is a limit to the size of the ship which can pass through this canal. The maximum size which can easily sail through this canal is called as Panamax. The vessels which are being constructed nowadays are most often larger than the Panamax. All those companies which have to trade across this canal need their ships to be built according to the size the Panama Canal allows. Otherwise it takes much longer to deliver the goods.
The construction of this canal under the United States of America flag took place in much better and improved medical conditions. Due to the improved medical conditions the death toll was much reduced. The site was ideal for the construction of such a canal. The construction of Panama canal has proved itself to be the right solution for many trade problems. It is a unique piece of human engineering efforts. It is a must visit place. Traveling through the Panama Canal in a cruise ship may be the best idea to visit and explore this wonder of the world.