Panama Canal Authority News

29 Apr 2020

Panama Canal Tweaks Payment System to Help Ships During Coronavirus

© Solarisys / Adobe Stock

The Panama Canal said on Wednesday it would make a temporary change to the payment system for ships booking passage through the waterway in order to offer more flexibility to customers affected by the coronavirus outbreak."As of May 4, 2020, the interoceanic highway will implement temporary changes to the requirements for making reservations and the advance payment of reservation fees upon confirmation," the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) said in a statement.Ships have hitherto had to pay fees within 48 hours of making reservations to transit.

20 Feb 2020

Shipping Industry Faces $370 mln Hit From New Panama Canal Charge

© searagen / Adobe Stock

A new "freshwater" charge that came in this month to help the Panama Canal cope with climate change will cost the shipping industry up to $370 million a year, marking another blow for maritime companies already hit by fallout from the coronavirus.The Panama Canal, one of world's busiest shipping routes, which handled nearly 14,000 transits last year, said last month it would introduce a charge from Feb. 15 of $10,000 for any vessel more than 125 feet long.The canal, which relies on water from nearby Gatun Lake, has been hit by drought which affects water levels in the chokepoint.

13 Feb 2020

Ships to Face 30% Higher Costs at Panama

Image: Panama Canal Authority.

The Panama Canal will begin collecting a freshwater surcharge from ships using the waterway from 15th February, as part of actions to address a scarcity of rainfall after the surrounding area recorded its fifth driest year of the last seven decades in 2019.The charge will be set at $10,000 for any vessel over 125 feet long. There will also be a variable surcharge based on the level of the Gatun Lake at the time of transit.The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) calculate this move will increase costs to ships passing through the Panama Canal by up to 15%.

02 Jan 2020

First Woman Deputy Administrator at Panama Canal

The Chairman of the Board of Directors and Minister for Channel Affairs, Aristides Royo, and Espino de Marotta in office. Photo courtesy: Panama Canal

Ilya Espino de Marotta, who played a lead role in the expansions of the Panama Canal  took office  on January 1 as  the  first  woman  deputy administrator of  the waterway.She was chosen by the board of directors of the Panama Canal Authority to replace  Manuel Benítez, who retired on December 31, 2019.Mrs. Espino de Marotta began her career at the Canal in 1985 as the sole female engineer at its shipyard. She now works alongside more than 1,000 women and recently served as the‚Ķ

05 Nov 2019

Maritime History & the Panama Canal

Grace Lines COLOMBIA transit of Panama Canal. Source: U.S.Merchant Marine Academy Maritime Museum.

The Panama Canal is a strategic crossroads for maritime traffic, and is arguably one of the most important maritime developments in the past century. Here we take a deeper dive into the history behind that famous strip of waterway.The present canal, which saw its first vessel transits in 1914, along with possible alternatives through Nicaragua and Mexico, had actually been on the minds of merchants, explorers and military/political strategists since the Age of Exploration in early 1500’s.

16 Aug 2019

Ships from Venezuela can still transit Panama Canal

© vintagepix/AdobeStock

The Panama Canal will allow vessels coming from Venezuela to transit the waterway provided they present the necessary paperwork, the canal authority's chief said on Wednesday, suggesting a new round of U.S. sanctions on the South American country may not make any difference to canal traffic.President Donald Trump's administration last week issued an executive order freezing all Venezuelan government assets in the United States. Shortly thereafter, U.S. officials ratcheted up threats against companies that do business with Venezuela.The measure did not explicitly place sanctions on non-U.S.

07 Aug 2019

Panama: Canal Operating normally; no ships detained

file image: A containership in the Panama Canal (CREDIT:CH2M)

Panama's Canal Authority said on Wednesday that the canal was operating normally and without delays, adding that no ships had been detained in the trade waterway.The entity posted the statement on Twitter in response to a tweet from Venezuela's Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, who said a ship carrying 25,000 tonnes of soy had been detained in the canal.Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon

30 Jul 2019

ICS Weighs in on Proposed Panama Canal Tolls

File Image: A cruise vessel passes through the Panama Canal. CREDIT: ACP

Global Shipping Industry Delivers Comments to Official Consultation on Proposed Modifications to Panama Canal Tolls.The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) is conducting a public consultation on a proposal to adjust the Panama Canal tolls for containerships, vehicle carriers, dry bulk carriers, tankers, chemical carriers, LPG and LNG vessels, passenger vessels and small vessels. The proposed new toll charges are anticipated to enter into effect on 1 January 2020, the same day as the IMO ‚ÄėGlobal Sulphur Cap‚Äô regulation.

25 Jul 2019

Panama Canal Hearing on Tolls Structure

Administrator Quijano gathers feedback from maritime groups during the public hearing. Photo: Panama Canal Authority (ACP)

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) held Tuesday a public hearing on the proposed modifications of its toll structure which culminated the period for receiving inquiries from the industry.The agency of the government of Panama responsible for the operation and management of the Panama Canal recently published a proposal to modify its current tolls structure for the dry bulk, passenger, containership, vehicle carrier and RoRo segments, as well as tankers, chemical tankers, LPG and LNG vessels…

16 Jun 2019

Panama Canal to Modify Tolls Structure

Pic: Panama Canal Authority

The Panama Canal published a proposal to modify its current tolls structure for the dry bulk, passenger, containership and vehicle carrier and RoRo segments, as well as tankers, chemical tankers, LPG and LNG vessels, the intra-maritime cluster (local tourism segment) and minimum tolls (small vessels).According toa press release from the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), the announcement marks the beginning of a 30-day formal consultation period for industry feedback, which will close on July 15…

21 May 2019

Panama Canal Closer to a Carbon Neutral Future

Image: Panama Canal Authority

The Panama Canal Authority announced enhancements to its industry-leading Green Connection Environmental Recognition Program.The award-winning initiative encourages the shipping industry to mitigate the environmental impact of their operations through an incentive-based system that includes the Green Connection Award, the Environmental Premium Ranking and the Emissions Calculator.The announcement took place on the heels of the IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC74) in London…

03 May 2019

Ever Larger LNG Tankers Head for Panama Canal

Ever large merchant vessels, including this large containership, are now transiting the Panama Canal on a regular basis. Image: CH2M

A 'Q-Flex' LNG tanker, the world's second-largest class of liquefied natural gas carriers, is set to pass through the Panama Canal for the first time, the canal's CEO said, expanding the Americas to Asia trade route for the fast-growing commodity.The 'Al Safliyah', which can carry about 210,000 cubic metres of LNG, is on its way to Panama from the North Pacific after discharging a cargo from Qatar into Korea Gas Corp's (KOGAS) Tongyeong terminal on April 21, shipping data in Refinitiv Eikon showed."This is the first Q-Flex to transit the Panama Canal…

01 May 2019

Panama Canal Expansion Allows More NGL Transists

Pic: Panama Canal Authority

In June 2016, the Panama Canal Authority, the body that operates the Panama Canal, opened a third set of locks that facilitated transit of larger ships, the first such expansion since the canal was completed in 1914.In the years since the canal was expanded, the largest change in petroleum flows through the canal has been the increase of hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGL), especially propane, from the U.S. Gulf Coast to destinations in Asia. HGL represents all natural gas liquids (NGL)…

18 Mar 2019

GIA Expands Membership

Pic: International Maritime Organization (IMO)

The Panama Canal Authority and A.P. Moller ‚Äď Maersk A/S are the latest entities to join the International Maritime Organization (IMO)-supported Global Industry Alliance to Support Low Carbon Shipping (GIA).According to the UN body, the GIA now has 18 members, including leading shipowners and operators, classification societies, engine and technology builders and suppliers, big data providers, oil companies and ports.The new members signed up to the GIA during the fifth meeting of the GIA Taskforce at IMO Headquarters in London‚Ķ

12 Mar 2019

Moody's Upgrades Panama Canal Rating

Photo credit: ACP

Moody’s Investors Service upgraded the 20-year $450 million Senior Unsecured Bonds issued by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) to A1 from A2, with a stable outlook, based on the waterway's strong performance since the expansion's inauguration.Moody's noted that the Expanded Canal has increased overall tonnage and attracted new market segments, contributing to the waterway's strong performance. According to Moody's, "stronger cash flow generation coupled with a relatively low leverage…

17 Feb 2019

Panama Canal Appoints New Administrator

Ricaurte Vasquez. Pic: Florida State University

The Panama Canal Board of Directors announced the appointment of Ricaurte Vasquez as the next Panama Canal Administrator.According to a press note from the artificial 82 km waterway in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean, Vasquez will take office on September 4, 2019, succeeding current Administrator Jorge L. Quijano, who concludes his seven-year term at the helm of the waterway.The decision was made by the Board of Directors in accordance to an independent…

14 Dec 2018

Moody's Rated Panama Canal with Stable Outlook

Pic: Panama Canal Authority

Moody's Investors Service reaffirmed the Panama Canal Authority's (ACP) A2 long-term rating with a stable outlook, based on its distinctive position as an infrastructure asset with a unique geographic advantage and business model, and its strong historical operational and financial performance.According to Moody's, the ACP's strong financial performance has resulted in better than anticipated financial metrics, driven by the successful operations of the Expanded Panama Canal.

13 Dec 2018

Brazil’s Itaqui Port and Panama Canal Sign MOU

Photo: Panama Canal Authority (ACP)

The Panama Canal has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Port of Itaqui to promote the shipment of grains and other cargoes in the commercial route from Brazil through the Panama Canal to destinations located in the Pacific Ocean.Itaqui, located in São Luís, Maranhão, is the Brazilian port closest to the Panama Canal. It  has the infrastructure and connectivity necessary to move these exports to markets in Asia."With this agreement, the Panama Canal looks to promote‚Ķ

06 Dec 2018

ITF Warns on Tug Captains Fatigue at Panama

Image: International Transport Workers' Federation

The International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) warns that a major accident on the Panama Canal could be imminent, highlighting the serious health and safety concerns related to the fatigue of tugboat captains.The new report  takes the Panama Canal Authority (PCA) to task with tiredness, rather than the protocols in place for the physical transfer of vessels as was the case previously.Fatigue of Panama Canal tugboat poses a major threat to safety in the operation of the canal‚Äôs Neopanamax locks‚Ķ

11 Oct 2018

Panama Canal Sets Record Annual Cargo Tonnage

The container segment continued to serve as the leading market segment for tonnage through the Canal, accounting for 159 million tons of the total cargo received, of which 112.6 million PC/UMS tons transited the Expanded Canal. (Photo: Panama Canal Authority)

The Panama Canal closed its 2018 fiscal year with a record tonnage of 442.1 million Panama Canal tons (PC/UMS), which represents a 9.5 percent increase from the previous year, the Panama Canal Authority reports.With this tonnage, the Panama Canal surpasses the cargo projections of 429.4 million PC/UMS tons for FY 2018, as well as the 403.8 million PC/UMS tons registered in FY 2017."The Panama Canal continues to exceed our expectations, reinforcing every day the importance of the waterway's expansion and its impact on global maritime trade," said Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano.

02 Sep 2018

Panama Canal Modifies Reservation System

Image: Panama Canal Administration

The Panama Canal will implement, from October 1, changes in the transit reservation system for the new neopanamax locks, which includes a restructuring of payment fees for the natural gas segment liquefied (LNG), in order to optimize the use of the interoceanic route.A press release from Panama Canal Administration (ACP) said that the modifications "are a positive step for the neopanamax locks", and take into account the lifting of certain rules of navigation to LNG ships, as well as the comments of customers.In order to maximize the benefits of these new navigation rules…

05 Jul 2018

S&P Upgrades Panama Canal's Outlook

File Image: A containership in the Panama Canal: CREDIT CH2M

Two years after the inauguration of the Expanded Panama Canal, Standard & Poor's (S&P) Global Ratings revised its outlook on the Panama Canal from ‚Äėstable‚Äô to ‚Äėpositive‚Äô ‚Äď demonstrating the global impact of the historic waterway. The rating agency also affirmed its 'A-' rating for the Panama Canal, ranking the ACP two notches above that of the sovereign foreign currency rating. The Panama Canal's outlook indicates the rating agency's expectation that it will generate relatively stable annual earnings before interest‚Ķ

19 Jun 2018

Op/Ed: Continuous Improvement for the US Salvage Indsutry

(Photo: ASA)

U.S. salvage industry update: Coast Guard recognition and continuous improvement for the domestic salvage industry and its working professionals.Professional salvors are called in when the ship‚Äôs crew is overwhelmed ‚Äď the last resort to protect lives, minimize environmental impacts and save the ship and cargo. These salvage masters, divers, firefighters, naval architects, heavy lift operators and other salvage team members regularly go into harm‚Äôs way and consistently perform incredible feats. They commit their lives and livelihoods to this work.

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