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Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) officials joined other U.S. representatives in Panama yesterday as they marked the opening of the Panama Canal expansion. A Georgia delegation led by GPA Chairman Jimmy Allgood traveled to yesterday's opening ceremonies in Panama. The $5.4 billion expansion of the 102-year-old canal took nearly 10 years to complete."The completion of the Panama Canal expansion is one of the largest and most important civil works projects in recent memory," said Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal in a press release.The Port of Savannah is the leading East Coast trading partner with the canal, state and canal officials noted."When you look at the share of loaded import containers destined for the East Coast via the Panama Canal, Savannah receives 30 percent," said Panama Canal Authority Chief Executive Officer Jorge Quijano. "We look forward to a continued strong rapport with the Port of Savannah and the state of Georgia."On July 1, the GPA and the canal expect to renew their memorandum of understanding agreement.Prior to its expansion, the canal could handle vessels up to a capacity of 5,000 20-foot equivalent container units (TEUs). As of yesterday, 14,000 TEUs are the new maximum.
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