The Panama Canal locks are the gateway between oceans that explorers dreamed of since the discovery of the Americas. This canal is one of the greatest feats of human engineering. It changed the world of commerce and travel. The system allows quicker access between the Atlantic and Pacific, and subsequently continents.
Commerce flows through these locks on huge ships. These locks, massive for their time, eventually defined a ship class called the Panamax, which is the largest ship these locks can ferry. Orignal estimates where that these locks enabled the transportation of about 80 million tons of goods a year. They now move nearly 300 million tons every year. So vital is this artery that today larger locks are being built to accommodate larger ships, and China is in negotiations to construct a second canal in Nicaragua.