Panama Canal increases draft and daily transits

Panama Canal announces increase in draft and daily transits

The Panama Canal Authority has marked the eighth anniversary of its expansion programme by reporting an increase in draft and daily transits.

The authority raised the maximum authorised draft from 46 to 47 feet (14.33 metres) on 27 June, increasing to 48 feet (14.063 metres) on 11 July.

In addition, a new booking slot for the Neopanamax locks will be introduced on 5 August, increasing the total number of transits to 35 each day.

The changes expand on improvements announced in June, including an increase in daily transits from 32 to 33 on 11 July and then to 34 on 22 July.

The extension has also had an impact on the local and global economies, with various ports throughout the world receiving larger ships and expanding to handle the more than 25,000 vessels that have transited the Neopanamax locks since 2016.

According to the Panama Canal Authority, between October 2023 and May 2024, 1,799 vessels transited the expanded canal. During this time, 62.4 per cent of these vessels were cargo ships.

In May, the canal authority issued an advisory to shipping lines, increasing the maximum authorised draft to 45 feet.

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