Panama Canal Authority Offers Just In Time Service

June 1, 2013
Tighter scheduling and less time at anchor expected to improve fuel usage.

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has implemented a just-in-time service (JIT) in an effort to improve transit efficiency. The new service is expected to allow vessels to arrive at the Panama Canal closer to their scheduled transit time. This service is designed to enable more efficient fuel usage due to less time spent at anchor before transit.

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To evaluate the operational feasibility of the service, a proof-of-concept trial started in February 2013. Participation in this trial is focused on vessels equipped with a type A Automatic Identification System (AIS) device.


For this service to be worthwhile, the vessels’ arrival time (ETA) must be as accurate as possible. The vessel must be willing and able to adjust its itinerary to meet the required ETA. Furthermore, the vessels must comply with the ACP pre-inspection procedures.

To achieve an effective level of JIT service, the selected vessels will be notified approximately 96 hours prior to their scheduled transit of their required ETA and tentative transit time. The Panama Canal will then use Satellite Automatic Identification System (SAIS) technology to track the vessels within a range of 2,000 nautical miles (1 nautical mile = 1,852 meters) before arrival and ensure that they can comply with the stipulated ETA.

Non-booked vessels may request to participate in the JIT service; however, participation will be confirmed after securing a booking slot for that specific transit date. If the booking slot is not obtained, the vessel will not be allowed to participate in the JIT service.

Two JIT service slots per day will be offered to regular vessels (under 27.74 meters or 91 feet in beam) without transit restrictions, with a maximum of one JIT service slot per direction. The allocation of these JIT service slots will be determined by the order the requests were received.