The Panama Canal Authority says it has reached a new milestone with the successful transit of four liquefied natural gas (LNG) ships with beams of up to 160 feet (49 meters) in a single day through the Neopanamax Locks.
With this milestone, the Panama Canal breaks the record set on April 17, 2018, when three LNG vessels transited through the waterway on the same day.
The new record was achieved today, October 1, 2018, with the northbound transit of Ribera del Duero Knutsen with a cargo capacity of 173,000 m3 and Maran Gas Pericles with cargo capacity of 174,000 m3. Meanwhile, the Torben Spirit with a cargo capacity of 174,000 m3, and Oceanic Breeze, with a cargo capacity of 155,300 m3, transited southbound, linking customers in South Korea, Japan, Chile, and the US Gulf Coast.
The Panama Canal recently introduced changes to its Transit Reservation System, which increased the number of slots offered to LNG vessels to two per day. The ACP said that there modifications have allowed optimizing the Expanded Canal’s capacity, in order to in order to meet specific demands such as the transit of four LNG vessels today.
The modifications — announced in August 2018 and that came into effect today — also allow lifting certain daylight restrictions for LNG vessels, as well as meetings between LNG vessels in opposite directions in Gatun Lake.
“The transit of these four LNG ships in just one day demonstrates the Panama Canal’s commitment to maximizing the efficiency, flexibility and reliability of its service to all customers,” said Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano.
“With these modifications effective today, the Panama Canal reinforces its capacity to handle the growing LNG transit demand coming from the United States once the different export terminals begin operation,” the ACP said in a statement.