Based on the current level of Gatun Lake and the weather forecast for the following weeks, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has updated the maximum draft for Neopanamax vessels on August 5, effective immediately.
According to ACP’s advisory to shipping, the maximum allowable draft for vessels drafting the Neopanamax locks will be 13.41 meters Tropical Fresh Water (TFW).
The maximum authorized transit draft was previously set at 11.74 meters TFW.
The announcement comes on the back of the suspension of the third draft restriction that was scheduled to become effective on June 6, 2016, amid dry weather conditions brought about by the El Niño.
The dry weather triggered a drought in the canal watershed, causing the water level of the lake to fall below its average. The restriction was initially scheduled to take effect as of May 9, but was pushed due to rainfall in the Panama Canal watershed.