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Panama Canal celebrates one-year anniversary

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LNG Industry,

The Panama Canal Authority has released a statement celebrating the one-year anniversary of the inauguration of its expanded canal.

Panama Canal Administrator, Jorge L. Quijano, said: “These transits are a testament to the global maritime industry's confidence in the Expanded Canal.

"The countless accomplishments set over the past year have surpassed even our own expectations for the project. We would like to thank everyone involved, from our customers to our highly-skilled employees, for their role in making this year such a great success."

Over the year, there have been a number of notable milestones, including the following:

  • Over 1500 Neopanamx vessels have transited the canal. Containerships represent approximately 51.3% of traffic through the waterway, followed by LPG and LNG carriers, which represent approximately 31.5% and 9.1%, respectively. Other types of vessels, including bulk carriers, tankers, car carriers and passenger vessels, have also transited the Neopanamax locks.
  • Panama Canal tonnage has increased by 22.2%, when compared to the 2016 and 2017 fiscal year.
  • 15 out of 29 liner services that use the canal now utilise Neopanamax vessels in order to take advantage of the economies of scale offered by expanded waterway. Most of these liner services connect ports in Asia and the US East Coast.
  • On average, 5.9 vessels transit the expanded the canal each day. This exceeds original forecasts, which expected two to three transits per day during the first year of operation.
  • Over 90% of the global LNG fleet is now able to transit the waterway for the first time.
  • Since the inauguration of the expanded canal, LPG traffic has grown exponentially. The Panama Canal Authority claims that this has quickly become the second largest driver of Neopanamx traffic, representing 31.5% of transiting vessels.
  • The Panama Canal has launched the Green Connection Environmental Recognition Program. This is a new initiative, which recognises customers that demonstrate excellent environmental stewardship and encourages others to implement standards and technologies that decrease emissions. The program includes the Environmental Premium Ranking and the Green Connection Award.
  • The expanded waterway has helped contribute towards the reduction of 17 million t of CO2 during its first year of operation, due to the shorter travelling distance and greater cargo carrying capacity that it allows.

The Canal is currently planning a number of infrastructure projects that it claims will provide greater connectivity and transhipment opportunities for the region. For instance, it is planning to concession a RoRo terminal to serve as a centre for the redistribution of vehicles, machinery and heavy equipment; a 1200 hectare logistics park to improve the region’s logistics services; and an LNG terminal on the Atlantic side of the waterway to provide LNG bunkering and redistribution capabilities. The Authority claims that it is also continuing to advance plans for the Corozal Container Terminal.

Quijano added: “Today's milestone provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the Canal's strong performance to-date and the industry's wide-spread adoption of the waterway.

"Looking forward, the next decade will serve as a significant next chapter in the Panama Canal's story as we continue to advance various infrastructure projects within the region to further position Panama as the logistics hub of the Americas-for the benefit of our customers, and for the people of Panama."

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