"This is a very important operation because it involved the first movement of the gates from the special dock where they were unloaded to the lower chamber of the new locks," said Panama Canal Authority (ACP) administrator Jorge Quijano.
Rigorous safety measures were carried out to ensure that the steel structures – which weigh more than 3,000t - could be moved to the dry lock chambers using a purpose-built pavement ramp.
Eight of the 16 rolling gates that will be used for the new locks are already in Panama. The remaining eight will arrive in two separate shipments from the manufacturing site in Italy.
In the next couple of days, the other gates will be moved from the temporary unloading dock to the dry lock chambers.
The Panama Canal expansion programme is currently 77% complete.