Expanded Panama Canal Tops Expectations in First Year

On its way to further position Panama as the logistics hub of the Americas, the Expanded Panama Canal has set a number of records and surpassed expectations in its first year of operations, resulting in redrawn global trade routes.

Over the past 12 months from its inauguration date of June 26, the Expanded Canal’s performance “has exceeded nearly all expectations.”

During the period, more than 1,500 Neopanamax vessels transited the new locks, according to the Panama Canal Authority (ACP).

Containerships represent some 46.8 percent of traffic through the waterway, followed by liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) carriers and liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers, which represent around 34.2 and 9.4 percent, respectively. Other segments such as bulk carriers, tankers, car carriers, and passenger vessels have also transited the new locks.

Additionally, Panama Canal’s tonnage has increased by 22.2 percent when comparing the 2016 and 2017 fiscal year. On average, 5.9 vessels transit the Expanded Canal per day, surpassing original forecasts of two to three daily transits for the first year of operation.

Fifteen new liner services opted to transit the Expanded Locks, “as shipping lines continue to reroute their services to take advantage of the economies of scale offered by the Expanded Canal.”

The one-year anniversary of the canal’s inauguration, one of the most significant milestones in the history of the 102-year old waterway and a defining moment for the people of Panama and the broader maritime industry, will be commemorated on June 26, 2017.

All vessels transiting on Monday will receive a commemorative first anniversary plaque, the ACP informed.

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