The Panama Canal has started the process of decarbonising its operations with the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.
To kick off the transition to a greener canal, the waterway purchased four electric vehicles as part of a pilot program that will collect data to inform the migration of the Canal’s entire fleet away from fossil fuel dependence.
Part of its strategic decarbonisation plan also includes tugboats and launches that use alternative fuels, the substitution of electricity production processes in favor of photovoltaic plants, the use of hydraulic energy, and ensuring that all facilities and infrastructure projects are environmentally responsible and sustainable.
“This process will build on our long-standing efforts to minimise our environmental impact, including encouraging customers to use clean fuels and reduce their carbon footprint,” said Ricaurte Vásquez Morales, Panama Canal administrator.
The Panama Canal first began tracking its carbon footprint in 2013 to align its operations with the global objectives of reducing emissions to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Its plans to become carbon neutral were bolstered in 2017 with the launch of its Emissions Calculator, a tool that allows shipping lines to measure their greenhouse gas emissions per route, and strengthens the Canal’s analysis of the emissions produced by its own day-to-day operations.
The Canal has joined the declaration of the “50 First Carbon-Neutral Organizations”, an initiative led by Panama’s Ministry of Environment to integrate national efforts to accelerate measurable climate actions.
As part of the new national initiative, the Canal will develop an annual greenhouse gas inventory, as well as an action plan with measurable targets to reduce emissions.
The waterway has contributed to a reduction of more than 13m tons of CO2 equivalent emissions in 2020 by offering a shorter route for ships in comparison to the most likely alternative routes.