Expansion of the Panama Canal is five years old
The competitiveness of the Panama Canal has been consolidated by facilitating the transit of larger ships with a safe, continuous and reliable service.
The expansion of the Panama Canal celebrates its fifth anniversary this Saturday, June 26, since it began operations.
The administrator of the Canal of Panama , Ricaurte Vasquez said that consolidated the competitiveness of Panama to the easy route transit of larger vessels with a safe, continuous and reliable service, as well as the contribution to strengthening the contributions of the The interoceanic route to the country is clear and unquestionable.
The Canal expansion, which was inaugurated on June 26, 2016 with the transit of the neopanamax vessel Cosco Shipping Panama, consisted of the construction of two new lock complexes in the Pacific and the Atlantic, creating a third transit lane for neopanamax vessels. along the interoceanic waterway.
“In these five years, we have gone from the learning stage to the consolidation phase of an efficient and safe service to our clients, while increasing our direct contributions to the country through the National Government by virtue of the operation of the new locks, ”said Vásquez.
He explained that since the first transit through the Neopanamax locks, 13,700 ships have crossed the Canal approximately, representing 28% of the transits in this period, these transits represented 54% of the cargo volume and 58% of the toll revenues of the Channel.
Likewise, Ilya Espino de Marotta, deputy administrator of the Canal, stated that adding a third transit lane with capacity for larger vessels has also strengthened the competitiveness of the service offered by the Panama Canal, contributing economies of scale and attracting new markets such as the of liquefied natural gas (LNG) ships, to the point of ranking fourth in number of transits in the neopanamax locks.
He explained that container ships continue to be the main client of the expanded Canal with 42% of transits; followed by liquefied petroleum gas vessels, 22%; dry bulk carriers, 15%; and LNG, 14%.
"When we envisioned the expansion, we thought that the maximum capacity of the container ships that we would serve would be 12,000 containers, but today we transit ships with the capacity to load up to a little more than 15,000 containers," said Espino de Marotta.
He added that, being shorter, the route through Panama plays an important role in reducing greenhouse gases, and the neopanamax locks have allowed savings of approximately 40 million tons of carbon dioxide since 2016, through facilitate the transport of more cargo in fewer trips.
“The service of the Panama Canal to its clients has also been strengthened with the recent increase in the length allowed in the Neopanamax locks. Last May, shipping companies were notified that the maximum length (length) at the Neopanamax locks went from 367.28 meters (1,205 feet) to 370.33 meters (1,215 feet). The increase means that now a large part (96.8%) of the world's container ship fleet can transit by water ”, he added.