Maersk Line has announced that it is likely to make increased use of the expanded Panama Canal and reroute one or more services with larger vessels to begin sailing through the new Panama Canal locks.
This follows the Panama Canal’s announcement that it had inaugurated the massive canal expansion project on June 26, 2016.
The extension of the Panama Canal will double the waterway’s capacity and allow the passage of larger vessels, from the so-called Panamax vessels that carry up to 5,000 TEU to the New Panamax vessels with a capacity of up to 14,000 TEU.
As one of the largest customers of the Panama Canal, Maersk Line has welcomed the expansion of the canal and the advantages it entails for global trade.
In 2016, Maersk Line is expecting to perform more than 400 vessel transits through the canal whilst carrying more than 400,000 containers.
Søren Toft, COO at Maersk Line, said: “As a long-time customer, Maersk Line welcomes the expansion of the Panama Canal. We look forward to seeing our larger vessels pass through the new locks.
“It is a very positive development for trade, Panama and the region, and of course the shipping lines that transit this important corridor every day.”
The Panama Canal accounts for roughly 5% of world sea trade and the expanded Panama Canal is estimated to generate a 3% increase in cargo volumes transiting the canal.
Since 60% of the Panama Canal’s traffic either begins or ends in US ports, it will have a direct, notable impact on the trade between Asia and the United States East Coast.
Anders Boenaes, Head of Network at Maersk Line, concluded: “The expansion provides us with more options, most notably to our Asia to South America and Asia to US East Coast routes.
“It is likely that Maersk Line will make increased use of the expanded Panama Canal and adjust one or more services with larger vessels to begin sailing through its new locks.”