The Panama Canal Administration (ACP) transited three liquefied natural gas (LNG) vessels through its Neopanamax locks on April 17, 2018, marking a first for the waterway.
On Tuesday, the Panama Canal transited the Clean Ocean, Gaslog Gibraltar and Gaslog Hong Kong vessels, which first arrived at the Canal from the Pacific Ocean and transited north, departing on the Atlantic side.
The development marks a significant milestone for the Panama Canal and its service of the burgeoning LNG segment, which has seen steady growth in the nearly two years since vessels transporting the natural gas — converted to liquid form for ease and safety of non-pressurized storage or transport — began transiting the waterway for the first time following the inauguration of the Expanded Canal.
Currently, the Panama Canal offers one of the seven Neopanamax reservation slots available per day to LNG shippers specifically, which currently average five transits per week.
Read a Port Technology technical paper about the traffic and plans for Panama Canal Authority one year after the expansion of the canal
However, during periods of high seasonal demand, the waterway has transited two vessels in one day on 14 separate occasions.
In this fiscal year, as of March 2018, the Canal has locked 134 LNG transits.
In a statement, the ACP said: “As demand from the LNG segment continues to grow, the Canal remains committed to meeting the needs of its customers and taking the necessary steps to increase capacity commensurate with demand.”