Panama Canal Opens 2021 with 50 Feet Draft
A year ago the Panama Canal faced with low rainfall in the basin, had to take measures to maintain operations. It will begin in 2021 offering 50 feet of draft, the highest level for neo-Panamax locks, announced administrator Ricaurte Vásquez Morales in his end of the year message. The service to customers and users of the Canal is offered amid the challenges presented by the pandemic and which has required a more cautious management of the Canal workforce to control infections and maintain uninterrupted service. Vásquez highlighted the work carried out by the human team at the Canal, which this December celebrates 21 years of transfer to Panamanian hands.
A 50-foot draft allows ships to transit with a greater amount of cargo, which translates into benefits for customers because it makes freight transport more efficient. Each additional foot of draft in the neopanamax locks means a ship can load an average of 330 extra containers, favorably impacting its economy of scale.
Gatun Lake, the Canal’s main water reserve, remains above the expected level. At 7:00 am on Monday, December 28, it registered 26.9 meters of elevation, 0.13 meters abovethe 26.8 meters of the Canal’s guide curve for the date. In comparison, in 2019, as a result of the lack of.
The Canal administration is also working on the bidding process for the prequalification of companies interested in submitting proposals for a portfolio of projects that guarantee the availability of water.
The Panama Canal has implemented measures for the conservation of water at an operational level, but also established the collection of a fee for the use of freshwater for the transit of vessels that helped conserve the resource to sustain the operation.