International Dredging Review

International Dredging Review

The Panama Canal marked the two-year anniversary of the inauguration of its canal expansion, the largest enhancement project in the waterway’s 103-year history. To date, the Panama Canal has transited 3,745 Neopanamax vessels; set a monthly tonnage record of 38.1 million tons; and transited both the largest container vessel and largest cruise ship to-date at a total TEU Allowance of 14,863 and total tonnage of 168,000 respectively.

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. Work on the locks has included the addition of two reservation slots, an increase in maximum allowable beam, and an increase in maximum allowable draft.

The impact of the Neopanamax Locks is demonstrated across all segments, but particularly in the LNG sector, which has been the fastest growing. The locks have recorded a total of 358 LNG transits including three in one day, and two in one day on 14 separate occasions, and the transit of the first-ever shipment of LNG from the Dominion Cove Point terminal in Maryland to Japan. LNG traffic is expected to grow by 50 percent by the end of the year increasing from 163 to approximately 244 transits.

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