The Panama Canal Remains Healthy at 90

As the all-water route from the East Coast of the U.S. to Asia and back, the Canal continues to increase in importance for global trade and logistics. Most current statistics bear out the recognition the world’s ocean carriers extend to the Canal as its total transits, revenue and tonnage carried growth continues upward.

Figures for the Canal’s fiscal third quarter (April through June 2004) indicate an increase of 9.4% in total transits – year over year, up from 3,411 to 3,732, with 1370 of these representing Panamax vessels, an increase of 20.4%.

In the quarter, tonnage grew by 13.2% and revenues climbed 18.1% to $192.7 million from $163.1 million. Largest growth came in the movement of crude oil through the Canal (up 41.4%) and through the increase of container tonnage (up 22%) due to growth in trade between the U.S. and Asia.

Ongoing improvements keep the Canal a viable and valuable means of moving goods for world commerce. Among recent projects are modernization of the locomotive fleet at Gatun Locks, construction of a new barge in Panama, widening the Gaillard Cut and implementation of an electric system for data exchange to and from vessels planning to make a Canal transit. Want to watch ships pass through the Panama Canal locks? Visit the web site for continuing web camera views, updated automatically, at

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