The Panama Canal has announced the launch of the Green Connection Award, a new initiative to recognize customers who demonstrate excellent environmental stewardship, and to encourage others to implement technologies and standards to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Panama Canal customers that meet and exceed environmental standards set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and/or other globally recognized standards will be considered. The Panama Canal will evaluate eligible candidates based on specific environmental factors, such as the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI), Environmental Ship Index (ESI), amount of nitrous oxides they emit due to engine performance, vessels powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions they reduce by using of the Panama Canal compared to alternate routes.
The decision to establish the Green Connection Award is in line with the Canal’s ongoing commitment to sustainability. The Canal offers unmatched advantages to help the shipping industry mitigate the environmental impact of their operations. Over the last 101 years, the Canal has directly contributed to the reduction of 650 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. And thanks to the shorter traveling distance and larger cargo carrying capacity that the Expanded Canal offers its customers, it will reduce an estimated of 160 million tons of CO2 emissions in the next 10 years.
In addition to reducing its carbon footprint, the Panama Canal Authority has been dedicated to the management and operations of the Canal, and preserving the natural resources of the Canal Watershed. The adoption of international standards and the incorporation of innovative environmental initiatives play a key role in the development and preservation of the Panama Canal Watershed, which is vital to the operation of the Panama Canal and the 1.9 million Panamanians who rely on it for drinking water.
To further ensure the sustainability of the route, the Expanded Panama Canal features 18 innovative, state-of-the-art water-savings basins that recycle 60 percent of the water used per lockage, saving 7 percent more water than the original locks—a significant savings considering the sheer size of the Expanded Canal locks in comparison to those of the original waterway.
“These sustainability initiatives reiterate the Canal’s commitment to being a global maritime industry leader, while actively sustaining the environment of Panama,” said Carlos Vargas, Executive Vice President for Environment, Water and Energy. “Through international compliance, water resource management, reforestation and other environmental strategies, we ensure the continued conservation of the Watershed, guaranteeing the viability of the waterway for centuries to come.”
The first Green Connection Award will be given to the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) ship to transit the expanded Canal early next week.