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Focus on Panama

Panama Canal announces green vessel incentive plan

On the heels of COP26, the Panama Canal is unveiling a new greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) classification system aimed at strengthening the waterway’s position as a green corridor for global trade.

Speaking at AAPA Latino in Cartagena, Colombia, the Panama Canal Administrator Ricaurte Vásquez announced the Panama Canal Green Vessel Classification system, which will include a GHG Emissions Fee.

These changes will build upon the Canal’s existing incentives for sustainable shipping lines, provided through its Green Connection Environmental Recognition Programme. This programme has evolved from the Green Connection Award, the Environmental Premium Ranking, and the Emissions Calculator.

By implementing this fee, the Canal said it acknowledges the environmental impacts of shipping, as well as those in the industry, who are paving the way to minimising emissions.

The fee will support investments to guarantee environmental performance standards and aid in making Canal operations carbon neutral.

Ships will be classified in levels depending on their energy efficiency. The classification and fee will apply to all vessels over 38.1 metres length overall (LOA). This classification system will incorporate the following three factors that will reduce GHG emissions between 20%-100% during transit through the Canal:

  • Energy Efficient Design Index (EEDI)
  • Efficient operational measures such as the use of Bow Thrusters
  • Use of Zero Carbon Biofuels or Carbon Neutral Fuels

The Canal has held discussions with ship owners directly for transparency, as it evaluates these changes, and will work in partnership with customers to accelerate carbon neutrality.

This programme will align with the International Maritime Organization regulations that promote international plans for decarbonisation in the maritime sector.

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