Panama Canal Expansion Marks Second Anniversary
Today marks Panama Canal's two-year anniversary of the inauguration of its Canal Expansion. It is the largest enhancement project in the waterway’s 103-year history. To date, the Canal has transited 3,745 Neopanamax vessels.
The performance of the Expanded Canal’s Neopanamax Locks continues to exceed expectations. Over the past two years, the route has recorded milestones such as:
- Setting a new monthly tonnage record of 38.1 million tons (PC/UMS) in May 2018
- The transit of the Canal’s largest cruise ship to date, the Norwegian Bliss, weighing more than 168,000 gross tons and carrying nearly 5,000 passengers.
- Recording year-on-year growth, in terms of number of transits and total cargo volumes.
- The transit of the largest capacity container vessel to-date, the CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt, with a Total TEU Allowance (TTA) of 14,863.
Increased experience with the Neopanamax Locks and continued investment into its operations have allowed the waterway to provide additional capacity, flexibility and efficiency to shippers. Such recent offerings include:
- Two additional reservation slots for the Neopanamax Locks, bringing the total number of slots from six (at the time of the inauguration) to eight, and giving shippers greater flexibility and options for booking their desired transit dates.
- An increase in maximum allowable beam for vessels transiting the Neopanamax Locks, accommodating larger vessels and greater tonnage.
- An increase in the maximum allowable draft for transiting the Neopanamax Locks to 14.33 meters (47.0 feet) Tropical Fresh Water (TFW).
The impact of the Neopanamax Locks is demonstrated across all sectors, especially in LNG. In the past two years, this segment has seen:
- A total of 358 LNG transits since June 26, 2016.
- The transit of three LNG vessels in one day in April 2018.
- Offering one of the eight Neopanamax reservation slots per day to LNG shippers, but transiting two LNG vessels in one day on 14 separate occasions.
- The transit of the first-ever shipment of LNG from the Dominion Cove Point terminal in Maryland to Japan on April 28, 2018.
Moving forward, the Canal's LNG traffic is expected to grow by 50 percent by the end of FY 2018 compared to FY 2017, increasing from 163 to approximately 244 transits.