Panama Canal increases draft limit

The Panama Canal celebrated the eighth anniversary of its expansion program this week by announcing an increase to its draft and daily transits.

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Through an Advisory to Shipping, the Panama Canal announced that the maximum authorized draft was raised from 46 to 47 feet (14.33 meters), and will increase to 48 feet (14.063 meters) on July 11.

This anniversary is distinct from previous ones since we have had to adapt our operations following the recent drought and the climatic variability affecting water levels at Lakes Gatun and Alhajuela,” said Panama Canal Administrator, Ricaurte Vásquez Morales.

The Expanded Canal opened on June 26, 2016, with thousands on-site to witness the inaugural transit of the container ship Cosco Shipping Panama through the Agua Clara and Cocoli locks, marking the start of a new era for Panama and world commerce.

The Canal expansion was the largest enhancement project undertaken since the Canal’s original opening in 1914, allowing the waterway to provide shipping lines, retailers, manufacturers and consumers with greater shipping options, better maritime service, enhanced supply chain reliability and sustainability.