Report: Panama Canal’s LNG Tanker Traffic to Surge by 50 Pct

The Panama Canal Authority expects to see a rise in the number of liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers, mainly driven by increasing exports of fuel from the United States.

Namely, the LNG tanker traffic would go up by 50 percent by September on the back of a growing global demand for LNG, Reuters said, citing Jorge L. Quijano, Panama Canal Authority’s CEO.

During the final quarter of 2017, the canal welcomed 60 LNG tankers, up from 43 tankers received in the same quarter a year earlier. As the demand for LNG continues rising, the Panama Canal expects to see one LNG tanker sail through its locks each day, Quijano told Reuters.

US exports via the Panama Canal decreased temporarily in September 2017, due to damages caused by Hurricane Harvey to several Texas and Louisiana ports, but recovered in the following months.

LNG vessels, which have an average canal water time of 20.5 hours, including waiting and transit times, represent about 9 percent of transits through the canal’s new locks.

Earlier in 2017, Quijano informed that the canal expects to nearly double LNG carrier transits through the waterway by 2020 driven by US exports of natural gas.

“The shale revolution in the United States not only has produced a quantum leap in terms of technology and volumes, but has also become a catalyst for the development and rapid evolution of a growing spot market, swaps and short-term contracts that were unthinkable a few years ago,” Quijano said.

Based on the canal authority’s figures, the LNG segment has been surpassing the canal’s original expectations of one transit per week, and on average, 5.2 LNG vessels have transited the canal per week.

World Maritime News Staff

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