The Tide Is Turning For The Panama Canal

April 24, 2024

 

The Tide Is Turning For The Panama Canal

 

The tide has turned for the Panama Canal during recent weeks and following a debilitating year of drought-induced cuts to daily transit allowances, operations are seemingly heading back towards a level of normality.

While the waterway is still some way off the 2022 average of 39 vessel transits per day, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) are currently in the process of raising the limit gradually from 27 to 32. This should see operational levels back to around 85% next month, after dropping to around 50% earlier this year.

Improvements in water levels, and optimistic forecasts of steady rainfall ahead of the traditional rainy season, has led to the turn in fortune.

The severe drought in the region has been impacting the canal’s operations for the past year, due to the desperately low water levels in its principal reservoirs since last April. The reservoirs feed water into a tiered lock system, which is used to float ships through the major waterway.

At the lowest point only 20 vessels were allowed to pass through the canal and in January the ACP warned that the limit could be about to reduce to just 18.

While the recent turn of events will be good news for global shipping, especially considering the impact of the Middle East conflict on the Suez Canal, restrictions are not expected to be lifted completely in the immediate future.

 

 

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