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The Panama Canal

The Panama Canal is known to be one of the largest and most difficult engineering construction projects ever undertaken.  Construction originally began in 1881 but due to the surmounting engineering problems, illnesses contracted by the workers, construction then ceased 1889.  In 1902 after four project manager appointments the Panama Canal construction was resurrected and completed 10 years later. The opening of the canal not only reduced ships journeys between Pacific and Atlantic Oceans to half the time but also made it less dangerous.  It was a project to change travel and trade forever.
6 facts about the Panama Canal

The area in which the Panama Canal is located was originally Columbian, then French, then American and then eventually Panamanian. 

Originally Ferdinand de Lesseps (who inspired the project) designed the canal to be built as a sea-level canal, this decision was later changed after several engineering difficulties and a lock and dam was decided on. 

• Over 25,000 people died in the construction of the Canal, due to the climate – humidity and heavy rainfall caused challenging terrain conditions, workers started contracting tropical diseases such as bubonic plague, yellow fever and pneumonia. 

• Work eventually ceased on May 15, 1889, the fatality rate was over 200 a month, investment funds were running out. De Lesseps, his sons and Gustave Eiffel were prosecuted for misappropriation of funds, but later the verdict was overturned.

• The canal project was managed by 3 project managers before finally being handled by the fourth project manager George Goethals a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who planned the project in detail taking the entire project 10 years to complete. 

• Since the first ship passed through in April 1914 the canal has been the centre of trade, with 70% coming from U.S ship imports.  It has been estimated that Panama receives $1 billion from tolls and due to rise now the expansion is complete.
The Panama Canal has gone through a number of upgrades since inception; widening the canal shipping lanes, installation of lights to allow overnight traffic, deepening of the canal to allow for more water collection, employing over 75,000 at the height of construction and continues today to contribute to the employment of Panamanians.

The Panama Canal was a complex engineering development with 3 project managers attempting and failing, it is evident that having the right person for the development is imperative.  

Our technical team at Cavendish Professionals are experts in the field of recruitment for major engineering and construction projects in both the UK and overseas. Contact us today to enquire how we can help you in your search for a new placement. We hope you enjoyed our trip to Panama visiting one of their engineering and construction masterpieces. 
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