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Focus on Panama

Panama Canal Authority announces new booking condition

Panama Canal Panama Canal neopanamax locks.jpeg
In response to the unpredictable weather patterns and the need to ensure reliable and sustainable service, the authority aims to maintain a draught of 13.41m throughout the remainder of the current year and part of 2024, unless significant changes occur in weather conditions from current projections.

Consistent with this draught, during this period, 32 vessels per day will be transiting the Canal, down from an average of 36 in normal circumstances.  Neopanamax transit capacity will remain largely unchanged at an average of 10 daily transits.

“Communication is a cornerstone of our relationship with customers. Considering changing circumstances, we maintain an open line of communication to keep our customers informed about booking slot availability,” said Panama Canal Administrator Ricaurte Vasquez.

“We informed our customers that effective August 8, a new Booking Condition, namely Condition 3, came into effect for the utilisation of the Panamax locks. The standard offering of reservations comprises 23 booking slots for these locks. Under Condition 2, in scenarios involving a substantial reduction in capacity (such as lane closures for maintenance), the allocation is reduced to 16 booking slots. Meanwhile, under Condition 3, as currently being implemented, the booking slots are limited to 14 in total (comprising 10 slots for super-sized vessels and 4 slots for regular-sized vessels).  To this day, reservations for the Neopanamax locks remain unaffected.”

“This adjustment, effective until August 21, 2023, has been introduced to alleviate congestion for ships already in queue to transit or in route, who were unable to secure reservations beforehand,” said the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) in a statement.

Despite current limitations and measures taken, demand remains high, hence the increased waiting times.


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