The full benefits of the new expanded Panama Canal will not be available to all very large oil tankers as long as those vessels fail to make certain equipment modifications, according to Reuters.
Some vessel owners, their hands tied by the slumping oil market, have been slow to make the necessary retrofits to mooring equipment, which are needed because the new bigger, deeper locks use tugboats rather than locomotives to pull ships through.
Unless and until the large tankers – such as suezmax and aframax vessels – make the modifications to standards approved by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) they won’t have access to the inter-oceanic waterway.
Shipping industry experts estimate the costs of installing parts, mainly chocks and bollards, could be as much as $150,000 per tanker.
The expanded Canal’s new locks had an inaugural opening on June 26.