The Panama Canal is a 48-mile international waterway that crosses the Isthmus of Panama, which divides Panama into two parts. The canal allows ships to pass between the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean, shortening the journey by roughly 8,000 miles compared to the traditional route around Cape Horn.
The Panama Canal was built between 1904 and 1914. Some oil supertankers, military battleships and aircraft carriers are too large to fit through the canal. A class of ships called "Panamax" is built to fit the maximum capacity of the Panama Canal. An expansion project began in 2007 to allow cargo vessels nearly three times the size of the current capacity to pass through. As of 2014, the project is expected to be completed in late 2015.