Rain eases the pain for the Panama Canal

With plenty of rain finally falling over the past week in Panama, the authorities have postponed a sixth draft restriction of 2019.

The maximum authorised draft of 13.11 m for vessels transiting the new neopanamax locks and 11.73 m for vessels transiting the old panamax locks will become effective June 12 instead of May 28. The current maximum authorised draft stands at 13.41 m.

“We will continue to monitor the level of Gatun Lake and announce future draft adjustments in a timely manner,” the Panama Canal Authority stated in a note to shipping lines.

The lake, which is a key passage along the canal, had been badly hit by one of the worst droughts to hit Panama on record.

Weather forecasts around Gatun Lake point to plenty more rain in the coming days.

Despite the draft restrictions, the canal has celebrated in the last couple of weeks its first Q-Flex LNG transit and a crossing by a record-breaking 15,000 teu class boxship.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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