Panama Canal Shows A Slight Decline in Usage

The Canal unit of measurement for tonnage uses the Panama Canal/Universal Measurement System (PC/UMS). For the quarter, volume was 75.6 million PC/UMS tons, down 0.3% compared to 75.9 million PC/UMS tons in 2006. Use of the booking system declined 0.5%, to 94.9% from 95.4% last year.

Transits of full container ships grew by 10.7%. Movement of Panamax vessels, the widest able to cross the Canal, declined by 3.2%, with 1,494 transits compared to last year’s 1,544. Of the Panamax ships with length greater than 900 ft, there was an increase of 2.9%, with 427 making the transit compared to 415 year over year. There was a slight decrease of 0.1% in the number of super vessels (91 ft or more in the beam) during the quarter, from 1,858 in 2006, to 1,856 in 2007.

Overall it took less time for a vessel to move through the Canal. Canal Water Time (CWT) was down 37% in the quarter, from 38.90 hours in 2006 to 24.50 hours this year. “For a second consecutive quarter, we have seen a significant reduction in total Canal transit time,” says the Canal’s vice president of operations, Manuel Benitez. “This is a strong testament to the top-notch operations and dedication that the Panama Canal provides to its customers. As a key link in the global supply chain, the waterway has consistently maintained its reputation of safe, effective and reliable service.” The official accident rate per 1,000 transit remained at a steady 0.535 for the quarter.

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