The Panama Canal’s water levels have dwindled due to lack of rain this year. Thus, the PCA is considering issuing an advance notice to all vessels on the maximum permissible draft level.
Currently, the maximum permissible draft is 12.4 meters. In the next 10 days, the PCA proposes to reduce it by 6 inches, given the dip in water levels.
As per rules, the issue of such notices should be at least 4-5 weeks in advance. By this, the ships will have ample time to plan their charters and courses based on the regulations.
Maintenance work involving the West Lane of Pedro Miguel is to take place between 22-30th September 2015, while that involving East Lane of Gutan is scheduled to happen between 24-28th September 2015.
This would mean significant delays in transit as, the canal transit capacity will be reduced from a maximum of 36 vessels per day to as low as 22 per day.
As of May 2015, the Panama Canal Expansion project was reported to have reached a 89.9% completion level. The lock testing on both sides of the canal is underway.