Panama Canal Opening Up For More Ship Crossings, But Still Expecting Rainfall.

Photo: Pixabay. Ships that go through the Panama Canal have a maximum size that will fit through the locks, known as Panamax.
- Advertisement -

The number of ships allowed through the drought-hit Panama Canal each day is going to be increased due to an improvement in water levels, thanks to conservation efforts, officials have announced. This will help to reduce bottlenecks in world trade.

The  channel with locks to lift ships over the mountain range between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans  is a key transit point for international cargo, which would otherwise have to travel thousands of miles by alternative routes, but low water levels in the lakes that feed the locks has led to recent limits in the daily  number of vessels allowed to make the crossing.

The largest ships that can pass through the canal are designated as Panamax vessels, which are just able to squeeze through the series of locks that lift and lower ships to the height of 85 feet to join the main canal.

The total length of the lock structures, including the approach walls, is over 1.9 miles. The locks were one of the greatest engineering works ever to be undertaken when they opened in 1914. No other concrete construction of comparable size was undertaken until the Hoover Dam in the United States in the 1930s.

The Panama Canal Authority said Monday that it had informed clients it would gradually allow up to 32 ships through per day, compared with a limit of 27 announced a month ago.

In 2022, it had welcomed an average of 39 ships a day.

“The management and administration of water has been very efficient,” canal administrator Ricaurte Vasquez told an Agence France Presse reporter.

The arrival of the rainy season was also expected to help, he added.

Restrictions on the maximum draft (water depth) of ships passing through the largest locks will be increased in mid-June to 13.71 meters (45 feet), from 13.41, authorities said.

The century-old maritime channel, which usually handles about 6% of global maritime trade, uses rainwater stored in two artificial lakes.

The canal, used mainly by customers from the United States, China and Japan, has a system of locks to raise and lower ships.

For each vessel that passes through it, 200 million liters of fresh water are released into the sea.

Source: VOA.
- Advertisement -