Panama Canal Shows Signs Of Recovery

The Panama Canal is finally showing signs of recovery, after a year of being impacted by severe drought that has significantly reduced its maximum number of daily vessel passages.

A recent bout of rainfall, and a positive outlook ahead of the traditional rainy season, has led the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) to lift the maximum passages to 27, while confirming a new limit of 31 effective next month.

In normal conditions, around 38 vessels pass through the waterway every day. While these increases still fall short of that, it is a considerable improvement on the low of 20 passages that were effective during January.

The el-nino weather effect is believed to have been responsible for the drought conditions that have crippled the canal in the past twelve months, leading to severe congestion and waiting times of 2/3 weeks.

Ships are floated through the canal’s tiered lock system, which is fed by water from two artificial lakes. Water levels in these lakes have been desperately low since April last year, and had been reducing further until this recent period of rain.

News that the Panama Canal is heading back towards a sense of normality will be welcomed by the shipping industry, especially since the world’s other major shipping channel – The Suez Canal – is also seeing reduced throughput due to the Middle East conflict.