Panama Canal Traffic Keeps on Growing

Container traffic through the Panama Canal continues to climb, as the water passage between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans experienced a growth in tonnage -- using its Panama Canal/Universal Measurement System (PC/UMS) – seeing it rise by 5.2% year over year for the period between October 2004 and May 2005.

There was an increase, as well, in the number of Panamax-sized (900 feet or more in overall length) vessels through the Canal. There was 6.4% growth in transits by these vessels – 230 in all – during the same period. In May, with 120 Panamax size ships – 117 full container vessels and three cruise ships – making the transit, three was no increase in Canal Waters Time (CWT) – the average time it takes for a ship to move through the Canal, including waiting time.

“To move this amount of large ships through the Canal and maintain a good CWT is remarkable,” says Jorge Quijano, canal maritime operations director. “Our world-class workforce makes full use of our investments in new equipment, technology and improvements to our infrastructure to make things happen here at the waterway.”

Additionally, more than 90% of vessels making the transit book through the Canal’s reservation system. This helps a ship move through the Canal in less than 17 hours CWT on its day of transit. Without a reservation, CWT is approximately 35.6 hours.

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