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Challenges and Environmental Threats To Canal Operations -- Climate Change and Rainfall; Canal Lakes Water Levels; Transiting Ship Draft Restrictions; etc.

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Heavy rainfall allows ships with 50 ft draft to transit canal


Posted 25/09/2020

After constant heavy rains, ships with a draft of 50 feet can now transit the Panama Canal for the first time in 20 months.

The Canal authority announced that, on Thursday, September 24, Neopanamax vessels can now transit with a draft of 50 feet, the maximum offered by the new locks, because of the constant rains in the hydrographic basin, resource planning measures, and efficient water use providing customers with a more profitable route for their business from the Canal says  Canal administrator Ricaurte Vásquez.

“For the first time in 20 months, the interoceanic route has the capacity to allow ships to use the maximum draft of the Neopanamax locks “

The climate forecasts of the National Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA,) indicate a 75% probability for the La Niña phenomenon, with which an increase in precipitation is expected for the coming months.

A draft of 50 feet allows ships to transit with a greater amount of cargo, which translates into benefits for customers because it makes the transport of goods more efficient. Each additional foot of draft in the neopanamax locks means the possibility of loading an average of 330 extra containers, favorably impacting its economy of scale.



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Ridiculous.  Climate change does NOT force a surcharge.  That is entirely the fault/responsibility of the ACP.  What they are trying to do here is get the same amount of money by providing less servic

As the articles above state, this was the 5th lowest rainfall in the past 70 years.  That means that at least four other times since 1950 it has been even drier.  It happens. They didn't impose Climat

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Panama Canal opens 2021 with 50 feet draft offering

in International Shipping News 30/12/2020


A year ago the Panama Canal faced with low rainfall in the basin, had to take measures to maintain operations.

It will begin in 2021 offering 50 feet of draft, the highest level for neo-Panamax locks, announced administrator Ricaurte Vásquez Morales in his end of the year message.

The service to customers and users of the Canal is offered amid the challenges presented by the pandemic and which has required a more cautious management of the Canal workforce to control infections and maintain uninterrupted service.

Vásquez highlighted the work carried out by the human team at the Canal, which this December celebrates 21 years of transfer to Panamanian hands.

A 50-foot draft allows ships to transit with a greater amount of cargo, which translates into benefits for customers because it makes freight transport more efficient. Each additional foot of draft in the neopanamax locks means a ship can load an average of 330 extra containers, favorably impacting its economy of scale.

Gatún Lake, the Canal’s main water reserve, remains above the expected level. At 7:00 am on Monday, December 28, it registered 26.9 meters of elevation, 0.13 meters abovethe 26.8 meters of the Canal’s guide curve for the date. In comparison, in 2019, as a result of the lack of.

The Canal administration is also working on the bidding process for the prequalification of companies interested in submitting proposals for a portfolio of projects that guarantee the availability of water.

“In September, we launched the tender for the new water management system, and the contract will be awarded at the end of 2021,” explains the administrator.

The Panama Canal has implemented measures for the conservation of water at an operational level, but also established the collection of a fee for the use of freshwater for the transit of vessels that helped conserve the resource to sustain the operation.

“Our objective of ensuring that the value of our resources is taken into account in global supply chains, was also validated in terms of both concept and price when the first water futures market began trading in December,” says the admin message.

In April, the Panama Caal implemented measures to help customers by providing them with greater flexibility. These included the extension of reservation fee payments to allow them to maintain greater liquidity and waive reservation fees for passenger ships, the segment most affected during the pandemic.

These measures were extended for a further six months after December 31 to help mitigate the prolonged impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on customers.

Since October, the Panama Canal, along with ports throughout the Americas, Asia, and Europe, has seen a surge in arrivals. This coincided with peak seasons for the container ship and liquefied natural gas (LNG) segments.

Vaccine distribution

‘We closed the year supporting the global distribution of the vaccine to prevent Covbuid-19. On December 21, we accepted the invitation of the World Economic Forum to support the efforts of the Transport Industry and Supply Chain Action Group in the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines and medical supplies to Panama, Latin America and the Caribbean. . Panama’s strategic location and its logistics center will be key to achieving the goals established by UNICEF for the mass distribution of vaccines in the region, said Administrator Vásquez.
Source: Newsroom Panama



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