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New Changes Implemented on the Panama Canal: Increases in Draft Limits and Daily Transits

The Panama Canal Authority, which administers the Panama Canal, announced it has finished implementing new policies: increased draft limits and increased daily transits.

The Panama Canal Authority made the announcement in a news release on its official website. The proposed changes were announced months ago and the increase was widely expected. The changes were made in a bid to reduce congestion in the canal.

Of course, the news is quite a positive development and very important for global transportation. As one of the two most important canals in the world, along with the Suez Canal, bottlenecks that occur at the canal will be felt globally. In recent months, the Suez Canal has not been used due to ongoing Red Sea attacks and regional conflicts in the Middle East. As a result, the Panama Canal has become the single most important piece for global transportation via shipping.

In this case, the bottleneck in the Panama Canal will be relieved a little, and the increasingly long transit times and waiting times of the vessels will be reduced a little.

What are the specifics of the new policies implemented on the Panama Canal?

The Panama Canal draft limits will increase from 45 feet to 46 feet. At the same time, the number of daily passages will increase from 32 to 33, starting on July 11th, 2024. Then, on July 22nd, daily passages will grow to 34 as previously announced. Given the current and projected water levels of Gatun Lake in the coming weeks and the start of the rainy season in the Panama Canal Basin, the improvements are expected to be implemented without disruption.

This is important news, especially for shippers which are shipping to Latin American and South American countries.

Cargo that’s in transit and on the way to its destination will be delivered with estimated times again, instead of uncertainty. Waiting lines will finally shrink. Consignees are expected to receive their goods faster and be happier.

On the other hand, the problems in the Suez Canal continue and may even grow further. In the coming year, the dependence on the Panama Canal will continue as it has in the past several months.

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