By Jite Eriabie
More than 3,000 vessels have now transited the Expanded Panama Canal less than two years since the new locks opened for business, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) said.
The containership MSC Caterina marked the 3,000 vessel milestone during a northbound passage from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean last Friday. The Panamanian-flagged vessel measures 300 feet in length, 48 meters in beam, and has a total capacity of 9,000 twenty-foot containers (TEU). It was one of nine so-called Neopanamax vessels to transit through the new locks that day.
Since its opening on June 26, 2016, the Expanded Panama Canal has exceeded initial traffic expectations impacting global trade from container shipping to LNG to tankers. According to the ACP, of those first 3,000 vessels, roughly 53 percent have been from the container segment. Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vessels constitute another 28 percent, and liquified natural gas (LNG) carriers, an entirely new segment for the Panama Canal, count for 10 percent of traffic. Dry and liquid bulk carriers, car carriers and cruise ships make up the remaining transits.
“Today’s milestone, achieved in less than two years of operation, serves as a proud reminder of the confidence that our customers and the broader maritime industry have placed in our route,” said Canal Administrator, Jorge Luis Quijano.
Previously, the MSC Anzu became the 1000th transit on March 19, 2017, and the COSCO Yantian registered the 2,000th transit on September 26, 2017.
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