After World War II, the evolution of special vessels, particularly the container ships, revolutionized the shipping industry.
The Canal changes with the modernization of the world´s merchant navy, meeting this challenge in order to become the most efficient maritime transport alternative in the world.
An aggresive maintenance program has kept the Panama Canal in Optimum operating conditions and will ensure its useful life and competitiveness for many years to come.
A new treaty signed by the U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Panama's Head of Government the late General Omar Torrijos, went into effect on October 1st, 1979. It created the Panama Canal Commission as the agency responsible for the overall management of the waterway until the year 2000 when the treaty expires.
The treaty requires that Panamanians participate increasingly at all levels in the canal's management in preparation for Panama's total assumption of responsibility for its operation at the end of the century, when at noon on 31 December 1999 the Canal and all others areas previously under US Administration will completely revert into Panamanian hands.