The CMA CGM Zephyr has become the largest cargo capacity containership to transit the Panama Canal.
On 1 July, the 16,285 TEU boxship completed a return trip through the Expanded Canal’s Neopanamax Locks after calling at the Ports of New York and Savannah.
The ship later sailed back southbound through the Canal, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, in route to Qingdao, China.
While the CMA CGM Zephyr broke the record for largest cargo capacity passing through the Panama Canal, Evergreen’s Triton remains the largest ship to ever transit the canal.
The Panama Canal currently offers a 15.24-metres draft.
The Neopanamax Locks were initially expected to serve vessels with a maximum of 12,600 TEU, but since its inauguration in 2016 the canal has increased capacity and boosted connectivity – now linking 1,920 ports across 170 countries.
In June 2021, the Panama Canal Authority (PCA) increased the waterway’s maximum allowable length for commercial and non-commercial vessels transiting the Neopanamax Locks – increasing the maximum length overall (LOA) for regular transits to 370.33 metres.
“There’s no better way to mark the anniversary of the Expanded Canal than with this month’s Zephyr transit, which exemplifies the continued growth potential that it offers for our clients,” said Panama Canal Administrator, Ricaurte Vásquez Morales.
“At the Canal, we are always seeking innovative ways to collaborate with shipping lines to better serve their needs,” added Panama Canal Deputy Administrator, Ilya Espino de Marotta.
“This milestone demonstrates the potential that our customers can unlock, thanks in part to our team’s flexibility and willingness to meet new challenges.”
Earlier last month, the Cabinet Council of the Republic of Panama approved a new toll structure for the Panama Canal which will be applied from January 2023.
PCA said the new structure will assume a simplified, value-based pricing structure, reducing the number of tariffs from 430 to fewer than 60.