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Increased Transits and Draft in Response to Water Recovery.

Water Recovery and Increased Transits


New forecasts for the Panama Canal indicate a gradual recovery in the lake levels that supply the interoceanic route. In response, authorities have announced an increase in the number of transits, allowing 35 ships per day starting August 5. Additionally, the draft of the ships will be increased, beginning with 47 feet this week and rising to 48 feet on July 11.


Impact of Increased Draft


Increasing the draft to 48 feet means that ships using the Neopanamax locks can carry more cargo. This improvement is especially beneficial for container ships, as each additional foot of draft allows them to transport approximately 350 extra containers. This enhancement not only boosts the efficiency of each transit but also provides substantial economic advantages for shipping companies, optimizing the overall logistics and supply chain operations through the Panama Canal.


Future Outlook


The ACP is working cautiously to normalize transits to 36 ships per day, the typical number under normal conditions. Recently, the Canal emphasized the need for a more resilient business model to better cope with extreme weather conditions. Among the segments most affected by the restrictions, bulk carriers are at the forefront. Their participation in transits has declined, partly due to the difficulty of competing for auctioned bookings. The bulk freight market, particularly for solid cargoes like grain, often cannot justify the exorbitant amounts required in these auctions.


Collaboration and Planning


The Panama Canal Authority is diligently working with the Government to resolve the water crisis by aligning all necessary legislation for the watershed expansion, which will enable the Rio Indio Reservoir project to become a reality. The Rio Indio Reservoir is poised to provide sufficient water to sustain canal operations during future dry spells and ensure a reliable supply of drinking water for the growing population for many years to come.


The Panama Canal continues to adapt to climatic conditions and works to optimize its operation and service to customers. Efficient water management and improvements in ship draft are important steps toward recovery and long-term sustainability.


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