OOCL France Becomes Largest Ship to Transit Panama Canal


Image Courtesy: Panama Canal Authority


The Panama Canal welcomed the 13,208 TEU OOCL France on May 24, the largest vessel to transit the Expanded Canal since its inauguration in June 2016. 

The Neopanamax boxship, which features a length of 366.5 meters and a width of 48.2 meters, transited the waterway northbound from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean.

OOCL France’s transit comes less than a month after the previous record was set by COSCO Development. On May 2, the 13,092 TEU containership, measuring 366 meters in length and 48.2 meters in beam, traversed the canal.

“This trend towards the transit of 13,000 TEU or greater vessels demonstrates the acceptance and trust that the shipping industry has with the service provided by the Expanded Canal,” Jorge L. Quijano, Panama Canal Administrator, said.

The 2013-built OOCL France is deployed in OOCL’s East Coast Express (ECX1) service, connecting Asia-US East Coast ports. The service is part of the Ocean Alliance which comprises China COSCO Shipping, Orient Overseas Container Lines (OOCL), CMA CGM and Evergreen.

By using the waterway, this vessel helped reduce approximately 5,000 to 26,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) in comparison to alternative routes, according to the Panama Canal Authority.

To date, a total of 1,360 Neopanamax vessels have transited the Expanded Canal since it first opened. Out of the 1,360 vessels, containerships represent approximately 43.8 percent of traffic, followed by liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) carriers and liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers, representing approximately 29 and 8.1 percent, respectively.

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