Panama Canal executive offers 2020 outlook

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The Panama Canal has continued to closely monitor the flow of trade through its waters during the COVID-19 pandemic and a top executive has provided insight on what to expect in the coming weeks.

A statement shared by Ricaurte Vasquez, Chief Executive Officer/Administrator at The Panama Canal, highlights some of the findings from the Canal as the first quarter of 2020 comes to a close.

“So far in our 2020 Fiscal Year, we have seen steady transits and tonnage pass through the waterway. As the COVID-19 outbreak evolved early this year, we began to implement precautionary measures and anticipate that the movement of cargo and passengers through the Panama Canal would be impacted,” he noted.

The Canal is monitoring various variables and says it continues to work in a very fluid environment because the service depends on a series of external factors.

On global market demand Vasquez said the Canal expects to see a steady decline in consumer demand which will impact the need for inventory replenishment and transportation of cargo. This dynamic will contribute to a reduced number of transits in the weeks to come.

Vehicle production in many nations has come to a standstill and there has been a decline in consumer demand. Transportation of vehicles will therefore slow down worldwide.

One thing that will continue to be transported is essential goods, this Vasquez said will remain steady and there may even be an increase.

“Much needed supplies, such as food and medicine, will continue to be transported in a timely and urgent fashion,” he noted.

It is likely that the Canal will be impacted by the plummeting fuel prices as it affects the Canal itself as well as the transit of energy goods.

However, Vasquez statement notes that the Panama Canal “remains relevant still has many advantages for instance in container trade between Asia and the US East Coast. In addition, being the shortest route, it also helps with the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from the maritime industry.”

During this time the Panama Canal continues to operate as normal according to the statement from Vasquez.

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