Panama Canal Ups Neopanamax Reservations to Seven

The Panama Canal will increase the number of daily booking slots available for Neopanamax vessels from six to seven effective December 1, 2017.

With this measure, the Panama Canal said that it is embracing the additional capacity allowed for by the new, larger locks. The seven daily booking slots for Neopanamax vessels are offered in addition to the 23 slots available each day for transit through the Panamax locks.

“This increase is the direct result of our efficient, streamlined use of resources and effective collaboration as we meet the growing demand for transits through the Expanded Canal,” Jorge L. Quijano, Panama Canal Administrator, said.

The additional slot is now available for ships transiting northbound, from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, and was first offered beginning September 26 through a special competition in the first booking period in adherence to Panama Canal regulations.

Container vessels will have preference over other vessel types when allocating these additional slots, the Panama Canal said. If no container vessels are interested, the slot will be awarded to any vessel that participated in the special competition, based on the Panama Canal Customer Ranking. After the special competition, the slots will be available to all vessels on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Neopanamax Locks can transit additional ships beyond the number of daily slots allotted. The Expanded Canal transited a record 10 Neopanamax ships on November 17. The canal’s daily performance far exceeds the three to four daily transits originally expected.

The Panama Canal informed that it will continue to explore ways to expand its capacity, working toward the goal of offering eight Neopanamax reservation slots by the end of the first quarter of 2018 and gradually implementing additional measures to increase capacity through 2019.

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