Lock repairs to cut Panama Canal’s traffic capacity by half

Traffic capacity in the Panama Canal may be cut in half as a result of locks lane outages starting Tuesday amid scheduled gate repairs and maintenance works, according to GAC.

The works will be performed in the west lane of Pedro Miguel Locks, which will be out of service until completion of miter gate repairs and maintenance of the conductor slots and valves.

“During the same period, there will be intermittent lane outages on the east lanes of both Miraflores and Gatun Locks, in order to perform repairs on the conductor slots and other maintenance works,” the Panama Canal Authority said in an advisory to shipping.

As a result, the so-called Condition 2 will be in effect until September 30, 2015.

According to GAC, as a result the canal’s traffic capacity will be reduced by up to 50%.

“The Just-in-Time (JIT) transit slots available for supers will be reduced during this period to one for each direction; whereas the JIT slots for regular vessels transiting without restrictions will remain at one for each direction. The booking slot available through the auction process, as well as slots available for regular vessels less than 300 feet in LOA, will continue to be offered during this period,” the advisory reads.

The repair works are expected to increase delays to non-booked vessels up to projected 4-7 days.

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