Less than six months after the inauguration of the Expanded Panama Canal, the waterway welcomed its 500th transit of a Neopanamax ship on December 14, 2016.
The YM Unity, an 8,204 TEU containership owned by Greek-based shipping company Navios Maritime Partners, performed the 500th transit. Built by South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries in 2006, the YM Unity measures 335.7 meters in length and 42.8 meters in beam.
The ship is traveling from Asia and will stop at Colon Container Terminal in Panama before heading to US ports, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) said.
The vessel began traversing through the Cocoli Locks in the Pacific and then headed north towards the Agua Clara Locks.
“Its transit marks a significant milestone for the Expanded Canal, which is experiencing a steady flow of traffic including containerships, liquid petroleum gas (LPG) vessels, dry bulk carriers, vehicle carriers, crude product tankers and liquefied natural gas (LNG) vessels,” the ACP said.
According to the ACP, a number of major liners have rerouted their service to the canal since it opened for business to take advantage of the time savings the new waterway provides. As of this month, ten Neopanamax liner services are being deployed through the Panama Canal.
In addition to the YM Unity, four other ships, including an LNG, an LPG and a bulk carrier as well as one boxship, transited the waterway on December 14, according to the ACP.