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Panama Canal begins to take transit reservations for expanded canal

Panama Canal begins to take transit reservations for expanded canal
The Panama Canal said it began accepting transit reservations for neo-Panamax vessels for commercial transits through the expanded canal starting on 27 June 2016.

In light of the upcoming expansion inauguration date, the Panama Canal will offer four additional slots per day for neo-Panamax vessels, in addition to the existing 25 slots of the current Canal.

The first reservation was granted to a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tanker Linden Pride of Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK Line), represented by shipping agent Norton Lilly International (Panama), S.A. The vessel has a length of 754.59 feet and beam of 120.08 feet.

The inaugural transit on 26 June will be chosen through a draw that will take place on 29 April among the top customers. That will be the first commercial transit because it will pay tolls associated with transit, and the only one that day.

The slots were allocated using the current booking rules, based on customer ranking and other tie-breaker criteria during the competition period- and on a first-come, first-served basis- after the competition had closed. The competition started at 9 am Monday 18 April.

It “marks an important day in canal history because the reservation system is now opened for neo-Panamax ships that will start using the new lane starting 27 June,” Panama Canal administrator Jorge L. Quijano said in an ACP statement. “We are pleased with the results of this initial phase of transit reservations and we hope that each day more vessels transit through the expanded canal.”

Once the first period of competition closed, 25 neo-Panamax vessels had reserved transit through the new locks. This initial phase of transit reservations corresponds to transit dates between 27 June 2016 and 30 September 2016.