Expanded Panama Canal

26th June marks one year anniversary since the expanded Panama Canal began commercial operation. More than 1000 Neo-Panamax ships have undertaken the journey since then.

The project has opened up a new shipping lane for larger vessels. Increasing the size of the vessels able to pass through, from a max length of 294 metres and a beam of 32.2 metres to 366 meters and 49 meters, means that today 80 percent of the world\’s fleet, based on gross tonnage, can transit the Panama Canal.

In the beginning the traffic at the new locks was slow (1 vessel per day) due to the fact that the procedure for guiding ships through has changed significantly. The new locks use tugboats to position the vessel instead of electric locomotives. The new process is a lot more complex than the locomotive system. But the traffic has increased significantly over the course of the first year (5.9 vessels per day).

Even though they made fewer transits than container vessels, Neo-Panamax LPG carriers have felt the impact of the new waterway the most. Prior to Panama Canal expansion Neo Panamax LPG carriers exclusively travelled from North America to Asia via the Cape of Good Hope in Africa. Today, this trade has been completely rerouted, with 100 percent of Neo-Panamx LPG carriers transiting through the Panama Canal.

The new locks can help vessels travelling between the East Coast of North America and Asia cut up more than 5,000 nautical miles which equals a min of 10 days from their journey.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top