The Panama Canal closed the first half of fiscal year 2020 with a tonnage of 258.4 million tons of the Panama Canal (CP / SUAB), while closely monitoring the global impact that COVID-19 will have in the coming months, in order to be prepared to continue facilitating world trade with a continuous and safe service.
The 258.4 million CP / SUAB were recorded from October 2019 to March 2020, compared to the 247.4 million tons budgeted for the first half of the current fiscal year 2020.
Meanwhile, the Panama Canal registered 7,528 transits during the same period, compared to the projected 7,029 transits.
In terms of total tonnage, the container segment continued to lead with 82.1 million tons of CP / SUAB from October 2019 to March 2020, followed by bulk carriers with 41.8 million tons of CP / SUAB and chemical tankers with 39.9 million tons of CP / SUAB.
“Despite the challenges facing the industry today, our numbers show that world trade is still moving, and the Panama Canal continues to play its role in helping to ensure the continuity of global supply chains,” he said. Ricaurte Vásquez Morales , administrator of the Panama Canal.
“While we face uncertainty in the coming weeks, we are committed, now more than ever, to ensuring that our route remains open and reliable for everyone who depends on us for the transportation of essential goods,” he stressed.
The Panama Canal is also closely monitoring and evaluating the evolution of the pandemic to get a complete picture of the situation, while ensuring that the most up-to-date data is used to support decision-making.
This includes planning based on different scenarios, as well as close monitoring of various factors that drive global trade, including: the trade relationship between the United States and China, the entry into force of IMO 2020, the price of oil, the implementation of water conservation measures and draft adjustments, as well as alternative routes including the Suez Canal, the Cape of Good Hope and intermodal transportation in the United States.
To safeguard the continuous transit of the Panama Canal, the interoceanic highway adopted a series of safety procedures in all its operations in January, following the guidelines of the Ministry of Health of Panama (MINSA), and which have been intensified in the last month.
Recent changes include adjusting personnel at the Panama Canal site to that required to ensure transit operations, and their strict compliance with the guide established by Panamanian health authorities for all vessel transits, among other efforts.
To protect the health and safety of the canal workforce and its customers’ crews, all personnel – pilots, shipping officers and cable glands who may need to board vessels in transit – are transported in small groups to reduce the risks of the virus spreading. .
All ships arriving in the Panama Canal waters must also report changes in their crews and the last ports of call, in the two weeks prior to arrival, in order to detect whether they are ports in countries with propagation alerts. of COVID-19.
The Canal will continue to operate normally and with the necessary personnel to maintain the inter-oceanic transit operations.