Panama Canal Welcomes The Largest Vessel In Terms Of Cargo Capacity

CMA CGM’s 16,285 TEU container ship named Zephyr is the vessel with the largest capacity (in terms of cargo) to ever sail via the Panama Canal.

The box ship completed a return trip via the expanded Panama Canal’s Neopanamax Locks on 1 July, after calling at US-based ports of Savannah and New York. The Zephyr sailed back via the canal southbound to the Pacific Ocean from the Atlantic, en route to Qingdao in China.

The Zephyr is now the largest cargo capacity to transit the waterway, but Evergreen’s Triton (measuring 369 meters in length and 51.2 meters in its beam) is the largest vessel by dimension.

In 2016, this canal was expanded with a third lane, and the Neopanamax Locks were expected to serve ships with 12,600 TEUs (at max). However, the threshold has been surpassed significantly as experiences in operating the locks increased.

Panama Canal
Image for representation purpose only

Implementing different water conservation efforts with increased rainfall in the watershed has permitted the canal to offer a 15.24-meters draft since May. The highest allowed for vessels that transit the Neopanamax Locks.

The Panama Canal’s data reflects that in 2021, the waterway contributed to a reduction of about 16 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions, compared to the most prudent alternate channels.

In 2020, the canal saved about 3 million tons of C02. The savings are reportedly equivalent to the amount produced by about 3.2 million passenger vehicles driven in one year.

The Panama Canal’s CO2 Emissions Savings Dashboard calculated the annual data that keeps track of CO2 emissions vessels reportedly save by passing through the canal.

Per the canal authority, 180 maritime channels converge via the canal and link 1,920 ports across almost 170 countries. Container vessels are the leading users of the third set of locks and contribute 45% of all kinds of transits.

References: Safety4Sea

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