The Panama Canal has added an additional reservation slot to its Neopanamax locks, effective May 7, bringing the total available daily booking slots to eight.
The canal authority said the move was triggered by increased demand at the interoceanic route, which was inaugurated nearly two years ago.
The increasing interest in the expanded canal has seen 1,183 Neopanamax transits this fiscal year, which began in October, 2017, the Panama Canal Authority said. The figure represents a 39 percent increase in cumulative transits year-on-year.
“This increase allows us to offer our customers even more flexibility and was made possible by strategic planning and the experience the Panama Canal team has our accrued in the last two years, especially considering that almost 150 personnel are involved in each transit,” Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano, said.
The announcement also follows an increase in the maximum allowable beam for vessels transiting the Neopanamax locks in April.
Effective June 1, the maximum beam for vessels will be 51.25 meters (168.14 feet), up from 49 meters, as measured at the outer surface of a vessel’s shell plate and all protruding structures below the lock walls.
Image Courtesy: Panama Canal Authority