With drought conditions worsening, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has announced drastic new transit restrictions on the international waterway being phased in over the next three months. An updated plan would see transits reduced by 43 percent by February 1, 2024.
Large containerships and LNG and LPG carriers will be among the most impacted by the new restrictions.
Vessel booking slots have been reduced to 25 per day starting Nov. 3 from the existing 31 per day, the ACP said in a client advisory. Moreover, the restrictions will be gradually reduced further over the next three months to 18 slots by Feb. 1.
Water levels in Gatun Lake, the key rainfall-fed main reservoir for Panama Canal’s lock system, have “continued to decline to unprecedented levels for this time of year,” the ACP said. “The recorded precipitation for October has been the lowest on record since 1950 (41% below), and so far, 2023 ranks as the second driest year for the same period.”
(Panama Canal photo)