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Montevideo, June 22nd 2024 - 08:57 UTC

 

 

Panama Canal chokepoint approaching an end as the rainy season begins in May

Monday, April 8th 2024 - 19:24 UTC
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Maersk gave its own indication of the improving water level, with the reinstatement of a service that had previously switched to a rail-land transit across Panama . Maersk gave its own indication of the improving water level, with the reinstatement of a service that had previously switched to a rail-land transit across Panama .

The chokepoint at the Panama Canal could be approaching an end as weather forecasts indicate ample rain fall is heading for Panama, which if correct means many international shipping believe a return to normal crossing s possible in the near future.

The persistent 11 month drought, made all the more worse by the El Niño weather phenomenon, saw a huge swathe of the global merchant fleet decide to avoid the waterway over the long queues and high toll fees.

This was then compounded late last year when for the first time in shipping history, the Suez Canal became dangerous territory thanks to the Houthis from Yemen targeting merchant ships in and around the Red Sea in a campaign designed to bring pressure for a solution in the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas.

Three weeks ago the ACP, managers of the Canal, added three extra slots per day at its panamax locks, taking the total daily maximum transits to 27, still more than 10 shy of the waterway’s normal maximum, but a sign that the worst was over.

Danish liner giant Maersk gave its own indication of the improving water levels along the canal, announcing the reinstatement of a service that had previously switched to a rail-land transit across the Central American country at the height of the drought crisis.

Restrictions on transits through the Panama Canal, which accounts for 2.5% of global trade, have seen tonnage transits down by a third, according to data from Clarksons Research.

There are currently 46 ships waiting to transit the canal, down from a peak of more than 160 last August.

Latest projections from ACP show projected water depths at Gatun Lake, the vital piece of water in the middle of the canal, will start to climb rapidly towards the end of May as the rainy season kicks in.

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