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First lock gate for new Pacific entrance of the canal was installed.
CMA CGM Vice Chairman Rodolphe Saadé calls deal a "major new agreement."
Marine terminal officials agree that future contracts will require ongoing collaboration.
Maersk Line CEO Soren Skou told American Shipper container lines need to adapt to permanent overcapacity, and cited Maersk's network management as the primary driver of bumper profits in recent years.
Economist revised forecasts, predicting lower import growth and a second year of declines in exports.