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Temporary Reduction in the Number of Available Booking Slots for the Panamax Locks. (Adv. A-36-2023)

Temporary Measures to Address Water Shortages and Canal Operations.

In response to pressing challenges caused by limited water availability and low lake levels, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) is implementing a temporary measure, referred to as Booking Condition 3, for the Panamax Locks. This proactive step aims to mitigate the significant delays stemming from the self-imposed capacity restriction of 32 transits per day due to water shortages. These limitations are essential to build up water reserves during the rainy season, ensuring a consistent draft of 44 feet for navigation even during drier periods. The impending El Niño phenomenon further compounds the waterway's challenges, prompting ongoing monitoring and potential additional restrictions to manage water scarcity.

Update on Booking Slots and Auctions.

Starting August 8, 2023, Booking Condition 3 will be in effect for the Panamax Locks. During this period, the number of available slots for supers will be reduced to 10, and for regular vessels, the slots will be limited to 4. This measure is set to persist until August 21, 2023. Application submissions for slots under these conditions will commence on August 5, 2023, at 0900 hours. Detailed slot distribution information can be found in the Condition Table of Notice to Shipping No. N-7-2023. Notably, special auction slots will remain at two (2) for supers and one (1) for regular vessels, while the extraordinary auction for Panamax Locks will be temporarily suspended during this period.

Concurrently, the Neopanamax Locks will experience modifications. Extraordinary auctions for booking dates spanning August 8 to August 21, 2023, will be put on hold. However, the daily auction offered seven days prior to the transit date and the special auction will continue uninterrupted.

Adaptive Measures for Safe and Efficient Canal Operations.

The ACP acknowledges the need for further adjustments to the Transit Reservation System to ensure the continued safety and efficiency of Panama Canal operations. As circumstances evolve, additional changes might be introduced to address any emerging challenges.

These temporary measures and adjustments underscore the commitment of the Panama Canal Authority to navigate the complex interplay of water availability, environmental factors, and the critical functioning of this vital maritime route. The ACP remains vigilant and adaptive in its approach to uphold the integrity of canal operations while contending with dynamic conditions.

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