Panama Canal To Raise Daily Ship Limit From January After Improved Drought Conditions

The Panama Canal said today that, for the benefit of its customers, it will raise the number of per day transits to 24 beginning in January under Advisory to Shipping No. A-54-2023.

There are now 22 vessels that pass by every day — six Neopanamax plus 16 Panamax. This restriction is a reaction to the difficulties presented by Gatun Lake’s current conditions, which are abnormally low for this time of year because of the drought brought on by the El Niño phenomena.

Panama Canal
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For the Canal Watershed, October 2023 was the driest October ever recorded. It was decided to reduce the number of per day transits to 22 in December 20 in the month of January, and 18 in February in anticipation of a possible deterioration of the circumstances in November and December. This year is the first year transit restrictions have ever been necessary for the Canal.

But given the favourable results of the Canal’s water-saving efforts, as well as the fact that November’s rainfall, as well as lake levels, turned out to be less unfavourable than anticipated, the changes made today will take the place of the October 30 advisory to ship, A-48-2023.

Furthermore, the Panama Canal will only permit one reservation slot per client per date, with a few exceptions for quotas granted to vessels that compete via the reservation system. By taking these steps, most vessels wishing to travel the Canal will have a greater chance of securing a reservation.

The measures published in the Advisory to Shipping will take effect on January 16, 2024, and will stay in place until conditions demand adjustments, which will be promptly disclosed. Canal specialists are actively monitoring the current water problem.

Given that 2023 is the second driest year in the Panama Canal Watershed’s history, the Canal has put in place an operational plan that emphasizes water conservation and reliable passage in the face of low rainfall followed by the decrease of water in the lake level.

The measures, with proactive and direct communication with relevant customers, have proven to be essential in adapting seamlessly to difficult climatic situations.

Reference: Ajot

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About Author

Marine Insight News Network is a premier source for up-to-date, comprehensive, and insightful coverage of the maritime industry. Dedicated to offering the latest news, trends, and analyses in shipping, marine technology, regulations, and global maritime affairs, Marine Insight News Network prides itself on delivering accurate, engaging, and relevant information.

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