Panama Canal in Massive Suez Traffic Steal


The Panama Canal has re-claimed the majority of traffic from the Far East and the US East Coast (USEC) all-water route that it previously lost to the Suez Canal in late 2014, the Journal of Commerce reported Alphaliner as saying.

This news comes after the recent announcement that the USEC could steal as much as 10% of the Panama Canal’s traffic.

Panama’s waterway currently accounts for 51% of the total capacity on the all-water trade route, up from 44% in February, 2015.

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Andy Lane of CTI Consultancy said: “The two canals (Panama and Suez) do not really compete directly for the same liner service – the choice is always based on minimising the total voyage distance. The scale of canals also does not drive cargo flows or deployment, when the difference is maybe 12,000 TEU versus 14,000 TEU where the slot cost synergies are minimal.

“It is however fair to say that massive variations in scale do make a difference – a 4,500 TEU service through the present Panama is far less efficient than a 10,000 TEU service through Suez (typical Asia-USEC) even if the overall distance is a little longer.” 

A 20% year-on-year increase has been recorded for weekly capacity along the route to a record high of 143,000 TEU in June, 2015.

The Panama Canal now accounts for 34% of total trans-Pacific capacity from the Far East compared to 12 months ago when capacity was recorded at 30%.

The Panama Canal is costing around US$5 billion to complete and will be operational by early 2016.

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