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Focus on Panama

Panama Canal announces second set of restriction easing in June

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In the second such announcement within a month, the Panama Canal revealed further easing of draught and transit limits for the critical trade corridor.

Through an Advisory to Shipping, the Panama Canal has announced that, effective June 26, the maximum authorised draught was raised to 14.33 metres (from 46 to 47 feet), and on July 11 will increase to 14.63 metres (48 feet).

Additionally, a new booking slot for the Neopanamax locks will be added beginning on August 5, bringing the total number of transits to 35 ships per day. 

The latest updates build on improvements announced earlier in June, which included an increase in daily transits from 32 to 33 beginning on July 11, and again to 34 on July 22.

This adjustment is anticipated to offer greater scheduling flexibility and alleviate some of the congestion issues that have plagued the canal in recent times due to a prolonged drought in the lakes which feed the waterway. The improved water levels and increased capacity are expected to streamline logistics and reduce delays, which have been a significant concern for global trade, exacerbated by the situation in the Red Sea.

Recent rainfall marks a positive turn for the Canal, potentially stabilising operations and restoring confidence among shippers.

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) which is celebrating 8 years of the expanded waterway, said its efforts demonstrate its commitment to maintaining the canal as a reliable and efficient route for global trade. The increased depth limits and additional transit slots are expected to play a pivotal role, accommodating larger vessels and heavier cargoes, thereby boosting the canal’s overall throughput and efficiency.