Panama Canal Drought Leads to Delays

August 10, 2023

 

Panama Canal Drought Leads to Delays

 

The Panama Canal is continuing to operate with capacity reductions in place, due to the persistent low water levels in the lakes that serve the waterway. Since June, many carriers have resorted to applying a surcharge to containers passing through the canal.

In addition to the ongoing draft restrictions, the number of daily transits allowed has been reduced by around 20%, which has resulted in delays that average around 15 days. This obviously has an impact on all water services to and from South American West Coast ports.

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP), have suggested that restrictions could continue until next September with the current conditions described as ‘unusually severe’.

Operations at this major gateway between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans have been hampered since May. Rainfall early in the year led to the lowest water level in two decades and the subsequent traditional rainy season has failed to bring any relief to the region.

Some of the current issues being experienced were highlighted recently when the Evergreen vessel ‘Ever Max arrived at the Pacific entry to the canal. 1,400 containers from its load were removed and then railed to the Atlantic end of the waterway, before being reloaded to the ship.

 

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