Panama Sees Shorter Transit Times, More Transit Slots



Transit times in the Panama Canal have shortened following the June 2016 opening of its expansion.

Average vessel transit times decreased by about two hours to 10.65 hours during the period July to October, compared with 12.77 hours during the same period in 2015.  The high range of the transit times dropped from over 19 hours to 14.24 hours.  The low range declined from over 11 hours to 8.13 hours.

October marked the expanded canal’s fourth full month of operations. The expansion allowed for Neopanamax vessels, with beams of 107 feet and longer, to transit the canal.  The canal also offered more transit booking slots – 943 in October 2016, compared with 641 in October 2015.  Of the 943 booking slots available, 545 were filled.  Neopanamaxes had 168 booking slots available, of which 97 were filled.

Despite anincrease in the number of Neopanamax vessel transits following the Panama canal expansion, the total number of ocean-going transits declined.  The Neopanamax vessel transit count increased from 59 in July to 108 in October.  But the total number of transits was down to 3,772 vessels in July-October compared with 4,095 vessels during the same period in 2015.

The Panama Canal Authority has ten days of maintenance planned for the east lane on 9-18 May 2017.

Panama’s heavy bunker fuel sales were up 8pc to 2.73mn t and marine gasoil sales were down 2pc to 190,443t in the first nine months of the year.  The number of bunkering vessels declined, indicating that vessels were, on average, buying bigger heavy bunker fuel lots.

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Source: Argus Media


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