The Panama Canal Authority has announced that it will start allowing the swapping and substitution of booking slots between vessels belonging to the same shipping alliance.
Under the new rules, which will go into effect on December 1, 2017, containerships within the same alliance are permitted to swap their reserved transit slots up to five times per booking. Additionally, no cancellation fee will be assessed if the ACP is notified of the substitution at least seven days in advance of the booked vessel’s required arrival time.
According to the ACP, swaps and substitutions will be allowed as long as both vessels are of the same type and segment (containership), both belong to the same classification (i.e. neopanamax, super or regular), both vessels are transiting the same direction, and both operators are members of the same shipping alliance. For swaps, vessels must have similar transit restrictions, and for substitutions, the new vessel must have similar or lesser transit restrictions. The booking date of the vessels involved in the swap or substitution also must be within the effective date of the services and of the alliance.
Last month, the Panama Canal Authority marked the 2,000th transit of the Panama Canal Expansion since the opening of the neopanamax in June 2016. The container segment represents more than half (54%) of the transits through the expanded Canal.