Panama Canal Breaks Daily Neopanamax Record

 01 Dec 2017 10.17am

The Panama Canal Administration (ACP) has made available an extra daily booking slot for Pacific-to-Atlantic bound Neopanamax vessels after a record number of Neopanamax ships transited.

Moving up from six daily booking slots for Neopanamaxes, a seventh daily booking slot will be offered for northbound Newpanamaxes from December 1, 2017.

These slots operate alongside 23 daily slots for transit through the smaller Panamax locks.

An additional slot was first offered beginning September 26, 2017 through a special competition.

However, it is possible that the expanded, Neopanamax Locks can permit even more ships beyond the seven slots.

For example, the expanded canal transited a record 10 Neopanamax ships on November 17, 2017.

Daily performance for the Neopanamax Locks  far exceeds the three to four daily transits originally expected, ACP said.

Read a related paper on the traffic and plans for Panama Canal Authority one year after the expansion of the canal.

Container vessels have preference over other vessel types when allocating additional slots, said ACP.

If no container vessels are interested, the slot will be awarded to any vessel that participated in the special competition, based on the Panama Canal Customer Ranking.

After the special competition, the slots will be available to all vessels on a first-come, first-served basis.

ACP said it is working toward having eight Neopanamax reservation slots by the end of the first quarter of 2018, and gradually implementing additional measures to increase capacity through 2019.

Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano said: "This increase is the direct result of our efficient, streamlined use of resources and effective collaboration as we meet the growing demand for transits through the Expanded Canal.

"We are excited to offer the additional capacity, and deliver on our promise to provide unparalleled safe and efficient service to our customers."

Read more: In September, 2017 ACP set up an auction so operators of Neopanamax containerships in particular could book a new daily slot towards the US East Coast.

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