Panama City: A ship operated by a Chinese company will be the first vessel to transit the newly expanded Panama Canal during the inauguration ceremony on June 26.
The Andronikos, operated by Chinese shipping company Cosco, was chosen through a lottery, the Panama Canal Administration said on Friday.
Cosco is China's top shipping company and one of the five largest in the world, operating 800 merchant ships with an annual capacity of 400 million tonnes.
"It is a historic moment not only for the Canal, but also for our company, which is a very young company that has just completed a merger between COSCO Group and China Shipping Group," the head of the firm's operation in Panama, Paul Xu, told EFE news.
More than 70 heads of state from around the world have been invited to the June 26 inauguration of the expanded canal.