The Panama Canal closed its 2018 fiscal year (October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018) with a record tonnage of 442.1 million Panama Canal tons (PC/UMS), which represents a 9.5 percent increase from the previous year. This surpasses the projection of 429.4 million PC/UMS tons for 2018 and the 403.8 million PC/UMS tons registered in 2017.
The increase was driven by the transit of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and natural liquefied gas (LNG) carriers, containerships, chemical tankers and vehicle carriers. Tankers, including carriers of liquefied petroleum gas and liquefied natural gas were the second leading market segment behind the container segment. Tankers accounted for 130.3 million PC/UMS tons while containers lead with 159 million PC/UMS.
During FY 2018, the Panama Canal increased the total available booking slots to eight daily for its Neopanamax Locks, offering greater flexibility and efficiency to customers choosing the Panama route.
The main users of the Panama Canal during FY 2018 were United States, China, Mexico, Chile and Japan. A total of 62.8 percent of the total cargo transiting the canal has its origin or destination in the United States.