Panama Canal revenues for January totaled $48.9 million, down 2.6 percent from the same period a year ago, the waterway's administrator's said last week. Cargo tonnage from the month's 1,048 ship transits slipped 2.0 percent to 15.9 million long tons over the previous January, the Panama Canal Authority
(PCA) said. Grain shipments, which form the waterway's largest cargo commodity by group, rose 10.7 percent over 1999, to 3.5 million tons.
Shipments of oil products -- the Canal's second most important cargo commodity -- fell 16.78 percent to 2.0 million long tons, due to a downturn in oil production among Oil Producing and Exporting Countries (OPEC), the report said.
Container shipments, considered by the PCA a sector of "sustained growth," rose 1.0 percent over figures for January 1999, to 2.5 million long tons.
Work to widen the Canal's narrowest point, the nine-mile long Gaillard Cut, remained on schedule for completion in 2002. A total of 91 percent of "dry" excavation, and 70 percent of underwater excavation, is now completed. The Canal, which passed from U.S. to Panamanian control on Dec. 31, generated $568.9 million in fiscal 1999. The waterway's financial year runs from September to October.