The Panama Canal announced March 2 the transit of its 3,000th Neopanamax vessel, exceeding initial traffic expectations by this date and reaffirming the value and impact the route has had on global maritime trade.
The Panama-flagged containership MSC Caterina completed the milestone transit traveling northbound from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean. The vessel measures 300 m in length and 48 meters in beam, with a total twenty-foot equivalent unit allowance of 9,000 containers. It was one of nine Neopanamax vessels welcomed at the Panama Canal that day.
"Today’s milestone, achieved in less than two years of operation, serves as a proud reminder of the confidence that our customers and the broader maritime industry have placed in our route,” canal administrator Jorge Luis Quijano said.
Of the 3,000 vessels that have transited to date, roughly 53% have been from the container segment. Liquefied petroleum gas vessels constituted another 28%, and liquefied natural gas carriers -- a relatively new segment for the Panama Canal -- have been responsible for 10% of traffic. Dry and liquid bulk carriers, car carriers and cruise ships made up the remaining transits.
Other notable transits thus far include the MSC Anzu, which, on March 19, 2017, became the 1,000th vessel to transit the canal, and the COSCO Yantian, which, on Sept. 26, 2017, registered as the 2,000th vessel to transit.
“We, at the Panama Canal, remain committed to providing a safe, reliable and efficient service for our customers. We look forward to the next 3,000 vessels and beyond,” Quijano said.