Panama’s ports moved 3.3 million TEUs (20-foot container equivalents) during the first semester, or a 1.3% growth compared to the same period last year.
On average the Panamanian port system moved 500,000 TEUs per month, according to statistics released by the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP).
The behavior of the growth in cargo movement was expected by port operators, said the president of the Panama Chamber of Shipping, Juan Carlos Croston.
The delay of the Canal expansion is not only a negative factor for the Panama Canal Authority not receiving additional income on time, but for other activities, such as the ports, which have also been hampered.
The third set of locks was to begin operations in October 2015, but due to the delay of the contractor, it will not be until early 2016 that it might be running.
Some ship owners were prepared to have their vessels ready for the size of the new locks. However, for the delay they had to move them to the Suez Canal until the expansion of the Panama waterway is completed.
By contrast, the delay on the third set of locks has given more time to port terminals in the United States to work on dredging for deepening their ports to gain greater depth for ships with more cargo that is expected.