The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has implemented the just-in-time service (JIT) that they say will allow vessels to have a more efficient transit.
The new service will allow the vessels to arrive at the Panama Canal much closer to their scheduled transit time. This value-added service will allow vessels to have a more efficient fuel usage by having to remain at anchor for less time before actually beginning transit.
"This new service is part of our efforts to explore new options in order to better serve our customers,” Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano said. “The Panama Canal is not only committed to maintaining a high quality service, but also improve in the necessary areas."
The participation on this trial period will focus on vessels equipped with a type A Automatic Identification System (AIS) device. In order to evaluate the operational feasibility of the service, a proof-of-concept trial was developed and is being implemented since February 2013.
For this service to be functional for both the Canal and its clients, the vessels’ arrival time (ETA) must be as accurate as possible. The vessel must be willing and able to adjust its itinerary to meet the required ETA. Furthermore, the vessels must comply with the ACP pre-inspection procedures.
To achieve an effective level of JIT service, the selected vessels will be notified approximately 96 hours prior to their scheduled transit of their required ETA and tentative transit time. The Panama Canal will then use Satellite Automatic Identification System (SAIS) technology to track the vessels within a range of 2,000 nautical miles before arrival and ensure that they can comply with the stipulated ETA.
Non-booked vessels may request to participate in the JIT service; however, participation will be confirmed after securing a booking slot for that specific transit date. If the booking slot is not obtained, the vessel will not be allowed to participate in the JIT service.
Two JIT service slots per day will be offered to regular vessels (under 27.74 meters or 91 feet in beam) without transit restrictions, with a maximum of one JIT service slot per direction. The allocation of these JIT service slots will be determined by the order the requests were received.