Drought Hit Panama Canal Imposes Further Ship Restrictions

Owing to severe drought, the Panama Canal has started imposing stringent measures. The crucial waterway’s draft will be reduced by approximately two meters from next month, with relevant authorities warning that the daily transits may have to be lowered by almost 25% to save water.

Per The Panama Canal Authority (abbreviated the ACP), the maximum authorized draft spanning 13.26 m TFW within the neopanamax locks will be effective on 25 June 2023.

The Panama Canal
The Panama Canal

The maximum authorized drafts for the following weeks are summarized as follows:

Neopanamax Locks

table 1

Panamax Locks

table 2

The El Niño phenomenon, too, poses a threat to this Canal. El Niño is a climatic phenomenon that results in the tropical Pacific Ocean warming regularly. As this happens, El Niño keeps altering the rainfall pattern in several parts of the world.

The ACP further noted that it would continue monitoring the level of Gatun Lake and declare its future draft adjustments timely.

References: Reuters, Safety4Sea

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