Container Traffic Grows Through the Panama Canal

The Canal's second quarter offers figures for January through March 2007. The waterway's tonnage metrics use the Panama Canal/Universal Measurement System (PC/UMS) which showed a boost of 6.30% for the quarter, moving from 75 million to 79.7 million PC/UMS tons.

Accompanying the jump in tonnage was an increase in the number of transits of the Canal. They grew 4.7%, from 3,869 to 4,052 during the period. Included in these figures are the number of Panamax ships that transited the Canal, up to 1,559 from 1,501 during the same quarter last year. The increase was 3.90% for these vessels that are the largest to be able to transit the Canal.

There was a significant 12.8% growth in the number of container ships that moved through the waterway. The 880 vessels were an increase from the 780 container ships during the second quarter of 2006. Because of their size—91 feet or more in beam—those ships termed “supers” take more resources and time to move through the Canal. The number of supers moving through the Canal during the second quarter was 1,930 in 2007, compared to 1,776 in 2006, an 8.7% climb in such traffic.

Canal Waters Time (CWT) is the average time it takes for a vessel to make a full transit of the Canal. The unit of measurement includes waiting time to make the passage. Although there was growth in the number of transits made during the quarter CWT fell to 27.43 hours from 30.09 hours for the second quarter 2006, a decrease of 8.80%.

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