The Panama Canal has registered the transit of its 4000th Neopanamax vessel, which travelled through the expanded waterway on 29 July.
A video published by the authority documents the pass of liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker Maria Energy, which was travelling southbound from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.
The expanded waterway, which opened in June 2016, is now able to regularly transit two LNG vessels each day, and has even managed to transit three ships in one day during periods of especially high demand.
When the Panama Canal lifts natural daylight restrictions for vessels in October 2018, two LNG vessels will also be able to pass through the canal at once from opposite directions.
Argelis Moreno de Ducreux, of the Panama Canal Authority, discusses the canal's expansion project in a recent Port Technology technical paper
Jorge L. Quijano, Panama Canal Administrator, commented on the milestone: “The steady increase in Neopanamax transits reflect our customers' confidence in the Expanded Canal, particularly with our fastest-growing segment.
“This reaffirms the value and impact our route has had across global maritime trade, including the fast-growing LNG segment.”
Although LNG is growing, more than half of the 4,000 ships which passed through the expanded Panama Canal have been from the container shipping industry.
By comparison, LNG carriers, a relatively new segment to the Panama Canal, account for just 10% of the overall traffic through the waterway.