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Panama Canal registers record year

Tonnage rises by 9.5% over previous year to set record.

November 21, 2018

2 Min Read
Panama Canal registers record year
Panama Canal Authority

The Panama Canal recently closed its 2018 fiscal year with a record tonnage of 442.1 million Panama Canal tons (PC/UMS), a 9.5% increase from the previous year.

With this tonnage, the Panama Canal surpasses the cargo projections of 429.4 million PC/UMS tons for fiscal 2018, as well as the 403.8 million PC/UMS tons registered in fiscal 2017.

"The Panama Canal continues to exceed our expectations, reinforcing every day the importance of the waterway's expansion and its impact on global maritime trade," Panama Canal administrator Jorge Quijano said. "This is the result of the efforts of our committed workforce who made this an extraordinary year."

The increase was driven by the transit of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and natural liquefied gas (LNG) carriers, containerships, chemical tankers and vehicle carriers.

During fiscal 2018, the Panama Canal increased the total available booking slots to eight daily for its Neopanamax locks, offering greater flexibility and efficiency to customers choosing the Panama route.

The 2018 fiscal year began on Oct. 1, 2017, and ended on Sept. 30, 2018.

Performance by segment

The container segment continued to serve as the leading market segment for tonnage through the canal, accounting for 159 million PC/UMS tons of the total cargo, 112.6 million PC/UMS tons of which transited the expanded canal. Tankers -- which include LPG and LNG carriers – were the second leading market segment, with 130.3 million PC/UMS tons.

The next leading segments included bulk carriers (73.7 million PC/UMS tons) and vehicle carriers (49.5 million PC/UMS tons).

Main users and routes

In terms of cargo tonnage, the main routes using the Panama Canal in fiscal 2018 were between Asia and the U.S. East Coast, the West Coast of South America and the U.S. East Coast, the West Coast of South America and Europe, the West Coast of Central America and the U.S. East Coast and intercoastal South America.

The main users during fiscal 2018 were the U.S., China, Mexico, Chile and Japan. A total of 62.8% of all cargo transiting the Panama Canal has had its origin or destination in the U.S.

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