Panama Canal raises vessel draft to 45 feet

Panama Canal raises vessel draft to 45 feet

The Panama Canal has issued an advisory to shipping lines, increasing the maximum authorised draft to 45 feet.

This modification, which was initially scheduled to go into effect on 15 June, is being applied early owing to the predicted start of the rainy season in the Panama Canal Watershed, as well as the existing and projected levels of Gatun Lake in the coming weeks.

According to the Canal Authority, the number of daily transits in the Panamax locks rose from 17 to 24 on 16 May, while the number of daily transits in the Neopanamax locks will increase from seven to eight beginning 1 June.

READ: Panama Canal increases daily slots at Panamax Locks

This adjustment will reportedly bring the total number of vessel transits each day to 32. The rainy season has caused water levels in Gatun and Alhajuela Lakes to climb beyond 2023 levels for the first time in 2024, beginning 26 May.

The Panama Canal is monitoring current weather conditions on a daily basis to make the appropriate operational adjustments in response to increased inflows into the watershed.

Recently, the Financial Times reported that shipping traffic in the Panama Canal witnessed a recent uptick following relief from drought conditions.

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