• 2024 May 29 10:02

    The Panama Canal expects up to 32 ships to cross daily as of June 1st

    The rainy season officially started for the Panama Canal on May 7, which has begun to be reflected little by little in the level of lakes Gatún and Alajuela. The serious drought, a product of the El Niño phenomenon, forced the interoceanic waterway to apply drastic measures to face an unprecedented situation until 2023, reducing the daily traffic of ships to only allow, at one time, the passage of 24 ships. 

    The Panama Canal has welcomed more ships per day in May, signaling a slow return to normalcy for the waterway and a wider sigh of relief for shippers hoping for an end to transit restrictions that have been in place since last summer. 

    According to the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), as many as 32 ships will be allowed to reserve a spot to sail through the waterway by June based on the present and projected level of the manmade Gatún Lake, which was heavily impacted by a months-long drought during Panama’s May-to-November rainy season last year. 

    Clarksons Research said in analysis earlier this month that total transits in the canal are still down by 30 percent compared to a year prior. Under normal circumstances, 36 to 38 vessels are allowed to be booked to transit the Panama Canal per day. With the country’s dry season coming to an end this month, the ACP has already been easing restrictions that were originally put in place throughout the second half of 2023, most recently increasing the number of daily reservations allowed from 24 to 27. With the completion of the maintenance, this number increased again to 31 per day across both the original Panamax locks (24 vessels) and the newer Neopanamax locks (seven vessels). Additionally, an extra slot will open in the Neopanamax locks starting June 1, with crossings expected to remain at 32 per day until further notice.
    The Panamax locks enable passage of smaller ships up to 966 feet long, while larger ships that fit the Neopanamax locks have a maximum length of 1,215 feet. Beyond the transit bookings, the ACP is also easing draft restrictions for Neopanamax ships, adding one foot back to the current maximum depth allowed of 44 feet. Effective June 15, the maximum authorized draft for vessels transiting the Neopanamax locks will be 45 feet. The draft for Panamax ships remains unchanged at a maximum depth of 39.5 feet. By June 16, the ACP expects the Panamax draft to remain the same, while it anticipates lifting the depth restrictions again to 46 feet for Neopanamax ships. Official water levels at Gatún Lake were 80.3 feet deep, 2.6 feet shallower than the 82.9 average in April over the five previous years. This represents a significant closing in the gap from the 5.5-foot average differential in January, when water levels were 81.4 feet deep compared to the usual average of 86.9 feet. The restrictions implemented last year amid the low water levels appear to have worked, cutting down total canal waters time from 66.5 hours on average in August to 20.7 hours in March. Canal waters time is the average time it takes a vessel to transit the canal, including waiting time for passage. Without accounting for the wait, average in-transit times dropped from 11.4 hours to 9.4 hours.
    And while the Panama Canal Authority reported as many as 161 vessels queued up to transit the waterway as of Aug. 10—accounting for both those who booked a reservation and those without an appointment—that number has fallen off drastically. Due to the prior booking slot restrictions amid the drought conditions, the ACP also is amending one more policy by giving temporary priority to Panamax passenger vessels who are planning on booking 90 days ahead of Oct. 1. 

    Although conditions have improved, the country’s government wants to ensure a repeat of last year’s events doesn’t occur. In March, Panama’s Council of Ministers unveiled the creation of Multimodal Dry Canal project in an effort to speed up the movement of goods through the isthmus and improve clearance times. 

    As part of the project, the country would integrate existing roads, railways, port facilities, airports, logistics warehouses and duty-free zones to create a new special customs jurisdiction to provide a dry route as an alternative to the roughly 50-mile waterway. Maersk debuted a similar “land bridge” service to kick off 2024, bypassing the canal on one of its trade routes amid the shipping delays posed by the transit restrictions. 

    As part of the service, the company would split its Oceania-to-the-Americas route into two loops on each side of the canal, where cargo would be dropped off at a port before being transported to the other side via rail and picked up by a ship. The container shipping giant recently announced as of mid-May it would restore traditional transit through the canal, eliminating the need to move containers via the land bridge.

2024 June 25

18:00 MOL announces consolidation of equity-method affiliate company Gearbulk
17:25 Baltic Workboats selects Genevos as hydrogen fuel cell supplier
16:54 VIKING ambulance boat order adds to Greek island health care performance
15:56 Liquipar Operações Portuárias to invest $106m in the Port of Paranaguá
15:33 GTT receives an order from Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding for the tank design of ten new very large LNG carriers
14:53 Hamburg Commercial Bank acquires NIBC’s shipping business
14:22 HD Hyundai gets global ship cyber security certifications
13:52 EemsEnergyTerminal may be kept at Eemshaven for longer for security of energy supply and the energy transition
13:22 TMC to supply ALS compressors to NYK’s LNG carriers
12:40 Danske Commodities and Solar Park Kasso sign agreement to optimise world’s largest commercial Power-to-X facility
12:03 Australian Government orders an additional two Guardian-class Patrol Boats for Pacific Maritime Security Program
11:44 Port Houston container volumes up 21 percent to 364,866 TEUs in May
11:03 Kongsberg Maritime expands its retractable thruster line
10:30 China-made icebreaker research vessel delivered in Guangzhou
10:10 Finnlines upgrades route between Sweden and Germany
09:46 Blue World completes successful testing of 200 kW maritime fuel cell system to run on green methanol

2024 June 24

18:06 World’s first methanol dual-fuel retrofit container ship delivered
17:10 New eco-friendly bulk carrier delivered to GOGL
16:30 HD KSOE close to intaking 4.8 trillion won worth order from CMA CGM
16:03 MAN Cryo supplies fuel system for world’s first hydrogen-powered superyacht
15:42 Global offshore wind capacity reaches 75 GW
15:26 Yemen's Houthis claim attack on four ships at Israel's Haifa port
14:56 Wison New Energies signs the EPCIC contract with Genting Group for the delivery of a FLNG facility
13:56 India's GRSE signs an agreement with Carsten Rehder Schiffsmakler and Reederei for the construction and delivery of four multi-purpose vessels
12:58 EU adopts 14th package of sanctions against Russia
12:33 Port of Valencia container volumes up 12.05% to 516,674 TEUs in May 2024
11:58 MSC Cruises carbon intensity cut by 6.5% in 2023
11:32 Western Baltija Shipbuilding starts construction of the first hydrogen-electric ship for Klaipeda State Seaport Authority
10:45 QatarEnergy enters 10-year naphtha supply agreement with Japan’s ENEOS Corporation
10:25 TotalEnergies wins further maritime lease in the North Sea to develop 1.5 GW of offshore wind

2024 June 23

15:42 Auramarine inks representative agreement with Hagedorn Products & Systems GmbH and Hagedorn Service & ENgineering GmbH, Germany
13:06 Drewry: Freight rates from China will continue to rise next week
11:34 Enova finance granted to new ammonia-fuelled gas carrier operation
09:37 MSC signs shore power deal in Hamburg

2024 June 22

15:47 MSC launches new Dahlia service for Asia to Mexico trade
13:29 BV hosts its 25th Hellenic and Black Sea Committee
12:24 HD KSOE develops scrubber technology for ammonia-fueled ships
10:04 Lloyd’s Register grants AiP to HD KSOE for novel ammonia fuel supply system

2024 June 21

18:09 HGK Shipping names future-fuel-ready dry goods inland waterway vessel
17:53 Chinese shipyards’ plans for next-generation ships
17:41 Emanuele Grimaldi re-elected as Chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping
16:40 MAN Energy Solutions rejoins SEA-LNG
16:20 India to create $9bn mega port near Mumbai
15:58 Hanwha acquires U.S. Philly Shipyard for $100 million
15:25 DP World completes $400m Сallao Port expansion
14:10 Var Energi, OMV Norge and Lime Petroleum awarded CO2 storage licence in North Sea
13:44 Creos Luxembourg, Fluxys and GRTgaz announce the inclusion of project HY4Link in the European hydrogen network development plan
12:43 Fincantieri and Viking sign contracts for two cruise ships
12:25 First of two new-generation emergency response vessels delivered to Hong Kong Fire Service
12:16 MPA clarifies on liability claims for pollution damage
11:59 A fleet of four Union Maritime tankers to be fitted with Norsepower Rotor Sails
11:38 PortNews Media Group celebrates its 20-year anniversary
11:25 TotalEnergies launches the Ubeta gas development to supply Nigeria LNG liquefaction plant
11:13 SMST secures contract from Cochin Shipyard for mission equipment for North Star SOV
10:38 Lloyd’s Register and the World Liquid Gas Association issue report on the future of dual-fuel LPG engines
10:17 Equinor secures exploration permit for CO2 storage in Denmark
09:56 CMA CGM to reshuffle EURONAF & TMX 2, linking Turkey, Spain, France, Malta, Western Italy, Sicily, Algeria
09:53 Completion of TGS and PGS merger slated for Jul 1, 2024

2024 June 20

18:06 Mammoet begins assembly of world’s biggest land-based crane
17:41 KEZAD Group signs lease agreement with Astha Biotech for AED 44m Microalgae Plant in Abu Dhabi
17:28 DNV's SRC software service launches in Europe
16:19 Equinor awarded two new CO2 storage licenses in the North Sea
16:15 Saudi Global Ports expands capacity with new QC and RTG cranes
15:31 Naftemporiki: Tanker prices on secondary market show signs of stabilization
15:11 Kuala Baram dredging project will improve Miri Port
14:29 A consortium of DEME and Hellenic Cables secured large contract for Princess Elisabeth Island
14:12 Russell Group: German port workers strike could cost $6 billion in lost trade
13:18 Norway and Singapore partner to enhance green maritime collaboration
13:05 Jan De Nul wins contract to supply, install and test three 220 kV AC cables
12:31 MPA reports considerable progress in oil spill recovery efforts