The Panama Canal Authority
(ACP) announced that it has reduced by 16.6 percent, the time a vessel spends in Canal waters until it completes its transit through the waterway. The average Canal Waters Time
(CWT) for 2001-2002 was 26.2 hours, compared to an average CWT of 31.4 hours for 1999-2000. The difference represents a 5.2-hour average savings to vessels on each trip through the Canal.
Moreover, the reduction was more dramatic for shippers using the Canal's "reservation system," where ships are able to reserve an exact date to transit the Canal, resulting in precise scheduling. Ships that employed the reservation system took only 18.6 hours to transit the Canal.
"Reducing the passage time for vessels saves our customers a lot of money in fuel and other costs and it allows them to get their goods to the market faster. We are running the Canal like a business -- with a market-oriented approach -- so we are constantly striving to improve services and provide new products for our customers. I give credit to our management team for their tenacious efforts to enhance Canal operations and increase the reliability of our service,"
said ACP Administrator Alberto Alemán Zubieta.
The ACP attributed the reduction to, in part, its permanent modernization program, which has recently widened the Gaillard Cut, increased the Canal's locomotive fleet from 80 to 100,
and acquired more powerful and maneuverable tugs.