Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. today announced that the MOL Benefactor, a 10,000-TEU containership has successfully passed through the expanded Panama Canal on July 1, 2016. This is significant in that the MOL Benefactor is the first Neo-Panamax containership to perform a commercial transit through the Canal's new expanded locks.
MOL Benefactor, newly built and delivered to MOL in March of 2016 is also the first Neo-Panamax vessel deployed on the G6 Alliance's new NYX service. The NYX provides a direct link between Qingdao, Ningbo, Shanghai, Busan with New York, Norfolk and Savannah on the United States East Coast and also provides connections to/from Latin America via Manzanillo, Panama.
MOL's history with the Panama Canal dates back to over 100 years ago when, in 1915, the Motor Vessel Kongosan Maru became the first MOL-operated vessel to transit the Panama Canal.
Akihiko Ono, Managing Executive Officer in charge of Liner business said, "MOL is pleased to celebrate the inaugural commercial transit of a Neo-Panamax containership through the expanded locks of the Panama Canal. Increased deployment of our Neo-Panamax containerships will help MOL to encourage stronger ties with our customers and play a historic role in the expansion of global trade. As we work towards our objective of becoming the logistics partner that customers think of first, we will continue to offer high-quality and competitive services through fleet improvements that result in reduced fuel consumption leading to cost competitiveness and environmental friendliness."
The vessel almost too neatly fits the dimensions of the locks with what appears to be inches left each side.
Meanwhile reports say that MOL paid a record toll for the 77km passage - $829 468, raising expectations that a million dollar transit may not be far off.