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Focus on Panama

Panama Canal changes booking conditions

Photo: ACP Vessel transiting the Panama Canal
The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) says that Booking Condition 3 in the Panamax locks remained in effect until Saturday, 2 September 2023. From Sunday, 3 September 2023 onwards, Booking Condition 1A is applied.

The total number of vessels will remain at 32 vessels per day.

It is important to note that the preference for container vessels during the 2nd and 3rd booking periods/competitions is still in effect.

Customers must consider the following factors:

During condition 3, the Panama Canal included non-booked vessels to reduce the backlog, considering that the 3rd period bookings were eliminated.

Now, with condition 1A, 3rd booking period slots will be offered again, so the Canal’s capacity to accommodate non-booked vessels will be reduced. This could potentially increase the backlog once more.

Canal traffic will be high during the Christmas season due to cargo movement, which might affect waiting times, said the ACP.

Water levels at the Panama Canal are expected to remain exceptionally low for months due to record declines in rainfall and the effects of El Nino phenomenon.

As of 4 September, the number of vessels waiting at the Atlantic and Pacific entrances of the Canal totalled 112, with the backlog affecting supply chains.