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Panama Canal Announces Special Auction Slot Starting Saturday

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

November 26, 2023

Source: Panama Canal

Source: Panama Canal

The Panama Canal, one of the world's main maritime trade routes, announced on Friday it is launching a special auction slot on Saturday, as it battles a severe drought that has forced it to reduce daily ship crossings.

"The purpose of this measure is to provide greater opportunity of obtaining a slot for vessels in the Panamax Locks that have been waiting in the transit queue for an extended period," the canal's authority said in a statement.

Water levels in Gatun Lake, the rainfall-fed principal reservoir that floats ships through the Panama Canal's lock system, have declined to unprecedented levels for this time of year.

Authorities last month announced slot reductions starting November 3 set to last until next February 1.

The naturally occurring El Nino climate pattern associated with warmer-than-usual water in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean is contributing to Panama's drought.

(Reuters - Reporting by Valentine Hilaire; Editing by Sarah Morland)

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