The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) announced its operational metrics for the 2009 fiscal year (FY 2009). Most importantly, Canal Waters Time (CWT), the average time it takes a vessel to navigate the Canal, including waiting time, significantly decreased. Fiscal year 2009 (October 2008 – September 2009) statistics show a slight decline in total transits and tonnage compared to FY 2008. In addition, the Canal experienced growth in some principal segments, most notably, general cargo, dry bulk, and tanker transits.
In FY 2009, CWT decreased 26.9 percent – from 31.55 to 23.06 hours. For booked vessels (those ships holding reservations), CWT declined 16.1 percent – from 18.52 in FY 2008 to 15.54 hours this year.
Total Canal transits experienced a marginal decline of 2.4 percent – from 14,702 to 14,342 transits. Panama Canal/Universal Measurement System (PC/UMS) tonnage decreased 3.4 percent – from 309.6 million PC/UMS tons to 299.1 million PC/UMS tons.
General cargo traffic jumped this year by 12.3 percent – from 779 to 875 transits, while dry bulk transits increased 11 percent – from 2,420 to 2,687. The Canal saw an increase in tanker transits – up 12.3 percent from 2,066 to 2,320. Container transits experienced a slight drop of 5.1 percent from 3,544 to 3,364 in FY 2009.
Booked transits (excluding auctioned slots) decreased 28.1 percent – from 8,167 to 5,869 transits. In FY 2009, booked vessels accounted for more than 45 percent of oceangoing transits.
The official accident rate rose slightly from 1.09 accidents per 1,000 transits in FY 2008 to 1.53 accidents per 1,000 transits this fiscal year. An official accident is one in which a formal investigation is requested and conducted.