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First transit of a LNG vessel through the expanded Panama Canal

First transit of a LNG vessel through the expanded Panama Canal
The Panama Canal saw on Monday the first ever transit of a LNG carrier through its expanded locks.

The Shell-chartered Maran Gas Apollonia—measuring 289 m in length and 45 m in beam— arrived yesterday from the Sabine Pass LNG Terminal on the US Gulf Coast, marking the arrival of the highly-anticipated sector of shipping to the waterway.

 “The transit of the first LNG vessel through the new Panama Canal locks is a milestone in the waterway’s history,” said Panama Canal administrator and ceo Jorge L. Quijano. “LNG trade will greatly benefit from the expansion, and we look forward to welcoming even more LNG vessels through the waterway. This transit marks the beginning of a new era that will result in cleaner and lower cost energy for the world.”

The expanded Canal can accommodate 90% of the world’s LNG tankers, which is forecast to have a major impact on global LNG flows.

With the United States poised to become one of the world’s top LNG exporters in the next five years, the Canal will allow vessels departing the US East and Gulf Coast for Asia to enjoy significant reductions in voyage times of up to 22.8 days for round trip, making US gas deliveries to major Asian importers very competitive.

Vessels departing the US Gulf Coast for the West Coast of South America will similarly experience major time savings.