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Neopanamx vessel transits have increased 39% year over year.
May 10, 2018
The Panama Canal announced that it has added an additional reservation slot to its Neopanamax locks, bringing the total available booking slots to eight daily.
The decision to offer additional capacity to shippers was made as a part of the canal’s routine planning and analysis to meet the increased demand at the inter-oceanic route, which was inaugurated nearly two years ago.
Since then, the global maritime community has increasingly taken advantage of the time and cost savings afforded by the expanded canal, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) noted.
The Panama Canal has seen steady adoption of use of the route, recording year-over-year growth both in terms of the number of vessels it has welcomed and the volume of cargo transiting. For example, thus far in fiscal 2018, which began on Oct. 1, 2017, 1,183 Neopanamax vessels have transited the expanded canal -- including container ships, liquefied petroleum gas, liquefied natural gas, dry bulk vessels and more -- representing a 39% year-over-year increase in cumulative transits.
“At the Panama Canal, we are constantly evaluating and optimizing our operations to ensure our service is as efficient and safe as possible for customers across segments,” ACP administrator Jorge L. Quijano said. “This increase allows us to offer our customers even more flexibility and was made possible by strategic planning and the experience the Panama Canal team has our accrued in the last two years, especially considering that almost 150 personnel are involved in each transit.”
The added slot allows shippers greater flexibility and options for booking their desired transit dates, ACP said. “The increase was made possible as a result of the efficiencies gained by the Panama Canal’s continued investment into its operations and resources, and due to the ongoing excellence and experience of its employees.”
The announcement also follows an increase in the maximum allowable beam for vessels transiting the Neopanamax locks in April. Effective June 1, the maximum beam for commercial and non-commercial vessels will be 51.25 m (168.14 ft.), up from 49 m, as measured at the outer surface of a vessel’s shell plate and all protruding structures below the lock walls.
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