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20pc more laden boxes transit Panama since expansion 3 years ago

THE Panama Canal has increased its laden container share by 20 per cent in the three years since the expanded waterway opened, reports London's Container Shipping & Trade

20pc more laden boxes transit Panama since expansion 3 years ago

THE Panama Canal has increased its laden container share by 20 per cent in the three years since the expanded waterway opened, reports London's Container Shipping & Trade

23 May 2019 - 19:00

THE Panama Canal has increased its laden container share by 20 per cent in the three years since the expanded waterway opened, reports London's Container Shipping & Trade.

'Since opening the widened canal locks in June 2016, we have received bigger vessels,' said Panama Canal Authority (ACP) trade specialist Argelis Moreno de Ducreux.



'Of the liner services transiting today, 16 consist of neo-panamax vessels, while the remaining 12 consist of panamax-sized vessels. This is important, as the average vessel size has increased from 4,000 TEU to 7,314 TEU,' she said.



'Compound average growth in the container segment since 2016 to 2018 was 14 per cent by capacity vessel size. Total TEU loaded has grown 20 per cent,' she said.



'Before opening the new locks we had 12 million TEU deployed and by the end of 2018 we had 16 million TEU for combined two-way transit.'



Ms de Ducreux singled out the importance of the Asia-US east coast route, which has capacity of six million TEU through the Panama Canal one way. Indeed, this route has seen average vessel size increase to 8,900 TEU.



'We have seen double-digit growth in capacity since we opened the new locks due to the double or triple size of vessels transiting,' she said.



'We have almost the same amount of services compared to before the locks were widened - 13 now compared to 12 then - but 12 of these are neo-panamax services.'



The largest vessel to pass on the Panama Canal Asia-US East Coast trade was 4,500 TEU versus the current biggest size of 15,000 TEU.



A crucial aspect to the Panama Canal being able to handle such large vessels is that ports on the US east coast were prepared to handle larger vessels once the expanded locks opened.



Said Ms de Ducreux: 'Ports have been investing in infrastructure and capacity to receive the neo-panamax vessels and this is also important for us. From 2018 we have seen a very interesting growth in volumes in terminals.'



Indeed, the Panama Canal has seen its market share of the Asia-US West Coast market increase since the locks were expanded, from 43 per cent to 48 per cent.


WORLD SHIPPING

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