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Panama Canal reaches new LNG milestone

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LNG Industry,

The Panama Canal Authority has announced that the Canal has reached a new milestone, after four LNG ships with beams of up to 160 ft (49 m) transited the waterway in a single day through the Neopanamax Locks.

This breaks the record set by the Canal on 17 April 2018, when three LNG vessels transited the waterway on the same day.

Ribera del Duero Knutsen (cargo capacity of 173 000 m3) and Maran Gas Pericles (cargo capacity of 174 000 m3) transited northbound, while Torben Spirit (cargo capacity of 174 000 m3) and Oceanic Breeze (cargo capacity of 155 300 m3) transited southbound, facilitating international trade between customers in South Korea, Japan, Chile and the US Gulf Coast.

Resulting from the experience acquired with the transit of more than 4200 Neopanamax vessels, the Panama Canal introduced changes to its Transit Reservation System to offer two slots per day to LNG vessels. These modifications have allowed the expanded Canal’s capacity to be optimised, in order to in order to meet specific demands such as the transit of four LNG vessels today.

The modifications, which were announced in August this year and that came into effect on 1 October, also allow lifting certain daylight restrictions for LNG vessels, as well as meetings between LNG vessels in opposite directions in Gatun Lake.

Panama Canal Administrator, Jorge L. Quijano, said: “The transit of these four LNG ships in just one day demonstrates the Panama Canal’s commitment to maximising the efficiency, flexibility and reliability of its service to all customers.”

With these modifications now effective, the Canal claims that it has reinforced its ability to handle the growing LNG transit demand from the US once the different export terminals begin operation.

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