The Panama Canal ended its fiscal year (October 2019-September 2020) with 13, 369 transits, a 2% reduction compared to projections, while the 475.1m tonnes PC/UMS represent a 4% drop, compared to projections. Compared to FY2019, high-draft transits remained at very similar levels.
The height of the pandemic’s impact on was between May and July and transits of the Panama Canal declined by 20% during this time, mainly due to reductions in passenger ships, vehicle carriers and liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers.
Transits and cargo movement, however, normalized in August and September, the last two months of the fiscal year, allowing the waterway to close with 475.1m tonnes PC/UMS.
Containerships remained the leading segment at the Panama Canal, registering 166.3m tonnes PC/UMS or 35% of the Canal’s FY20 tonnage, followed by: Bulk carriers: 80.9m tonnes; tankers/chemical tankers: 69.2m tonnes; LNG: 46.4m tonnes; LPG: 44.6m tonnes.
In March 2020, the impact of the pandemic began to take effect, impacting the passenger segment, which due to the health measures implemented that ended the cruise season early, closed 10% lower than expected.
Other segments severely affected by market conditions due to the pandemic were vehicle carriers and LNG, which saw PC/UMS tonnage around 21% and 15% below projections, respectively.
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