The Panama Canal closed its 2018 fiscal year with a record tonnage of 442.1 million Panama Canal tons (PC/UMS), representing a 9.5 percent increase from the previous year.
With this number, the Panama Canal surpasses the cargo projections of 429.4 million PC/UMS tons for FY 2018, as well as the 403.8 million PC/UMS tons registered in FY 2017.
“The Panama Canal continues to exceed our expectations, reinforcing every day the importance of the waterway’s expansion and its impact on global maritime trade,” Jorge L. Quijano, Panama Canal Administrator, said.
The increase was driven by the transit of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers, containerships, chemical tankers and vehicle carriers.
The container segment continued to serve as the leading market segment for tonnage through the canal, accounting for 159 million PC/UMS tons of the total cargo, of which 112.6 million PC/UMS tons transited the expanded canal. Tankers, including LPG and LNG carriers, followed close with a total of 130.3 million PC/UMS tons.
The third ranked segments included bulk carriers with 73.7 million PC/UMS tons, while vehicle carriers took fourth place with 49.5 million PC/UMS tons seen during the year.
In terms of cargo tonnage, the main routes using the Panama Canal in FY 2018 were between Asia and the U.S. East Coast, the West Coast of South America and the U.S. East Coast, the West Coast of South America and Europe, the West Coast of Central America and the U.S. East Coast and intercoastal South America.
Panama Canal said that the main users during the period were the U.S., China, Mexico, Chile and Japan, while some 62.8 percent of the total cargo transiting the canal had its origin or destination in the United States.