Panama Canal Authority: 55 Vessels Through New Locks in First Month

The MV Cosco Shipping Panama makes the inaugural transit through the expanded Panama Canal, June 26, 2016. Photo: Panama Canal Authority
The MV Cosco Shipping Panama makes the inaugural transit through the expanded Panama Canal, June 26, 2016. Photo: Panama Canal Authority

The expanded Panama Canal’s new neopanamax locks recorded a total of 55 vessel transits in the first month since their June 26 inauguration.

Of the 55 vessels to use the new locks, there were 29 containerships, 22 LPG tankers, two car carriers, and two LNG carriers, according to the Panama Canal Authority.

As of August 2, the ACP said the number of neopanamax ships through grew to 69, with 40 containerships, 24 LPG tankers, as well as the two LNG and vehicle carriers. The ACP added that so for it has received 250 reservations and counting for the Expanded Canal, including seven cruise ship reservations.

“We are very pleased with the first month of operations at the Expanded Canal since the Inauguration,” said Panama Canal Administrator and CEO Jorge L. Quijano.

In a statement last week, Quijano clarified that to date there has been only one official incident in the new locks, despite reports to the contrary. The incident occurred July 21 when a 8,500 TEU containership belonging to China COSCO Shipping made contact with one of the walls at Agua Clara Locks, causing a gash in the ship’s hull. The incident did not interrupt traffic through the lock or the Canal, and the ACP added that it has not received a claim related to the incident.

In Tuesday’s statement however, the ACP insisted that operational testing and training remains a priority, saying that to date more than 50 trial lockages have taken place in the Agua Clara Locks with the Panama Canal-chartered Neopanamax dry bulker, MV BAROQUE, since testing began in June.

The ACP further noted that milestone transits so far include the inaugural transit by the containership COSCO Shipping Panama, the first liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) carrier on June 27, the first transit of a vehicle carrier on July 6, and the first LNG carrier to ever sail through the Panama Canal on July 25. 

“The third set of locks is Panama’s response to the needs of an increasingly demanding maritime industry, and symbolizes the new paradigm of sustainable growth,” the ACP quoted Quijano as saying.