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A tanker transits through the Panamax locks of the Panama Canal. Photo courtesy Panama Canal Authority

A tanker transits through the Panamax locks of the Panama Canal. Photo courtesy Panama Canal Authority

Panama Canal Continues to Ease Drought Restrictions as Rainy Season Kicks Off

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 912
June 12, 2024

The Panama Canal Authority has announced another increase in the number of daily transits through the waterway’s locks as rainfall returns to the region.

The current number of daily transits will be increased from the current level of 32 to 33, effective from July 11, and will further increase to 34 from July 22, according to the Authority’s new schedule.

The decision comes in light of the current and forecasted water levels in Gatun Lake over the coming weeks, and the arrival of the rainy season in the Panama Canal watershed.

For over a year, the Panama Canal has been operating below capacity due to a severe drought, worsened by a strong El Nino. However, the ACP has been gradually increasing both the number of daily transit numbers and maximum drafts from recent lows of 24 transits and maximum drafts below 44 feet.

The changes bring the canal’s capacity closer to its design specifications of approximately 36 daily transits and a maximum draft of 50 feet.

By July 22, two additional transits will be added, including one transit to the panamax locks, bringing the total to 25 daily transits, and one to the neopanamax locks, increasing to 9 daily transits. Moreover, the canal’s draft limit will be increased from 45 to 46 feet, effective June 15.

The Panama Canal Authority says it continues to monitor weather conditions daily, ready to take necessary operational actions should rainfall in its watershed increase.

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