The Panama Canal has increased the maximum allowable length for vessels transiting the Neo-panamax locks
Since 21 May, the maximum length overall for commercial and non-commercial vessels acceptable for regular transits of the Neo-panamax locks has been extended to 370.33 m, up from 367.28 m.
The extended LOA will provide shipping lines with greater flexibility in constructing vessels with greater capacity that can transit through the Panama Canal.
This announcement follows a series of trial transits to confirm the safety of operations including the 2019 transit of Evergreen’s 369-m box ship Triton, which became the largest vessel in dimension and container cargo capacity to transit the Panama Canal since the inauguration of the Neo-panamax locks in June 2016.
The Canal is also offering 15.24 m draft, the highest level allowed at the waterway. Increased rainfall and successful water management at Gatun Lake had kept the draft at 14.93 m since April 2021.
The increase means 96.8% of the world’s fleet of container ships can now transit the Panama Canal. Administrator Ricaurte Vásquez Morales said “This change was made possible by our team’s experience operating the Neo-panamax locks safely and reliably over the past five years.”
Canal Authorities said they are focused on reducing the Canal’s own carbon footprint and establishing a roadmap to become a carbon-neutral entity by the end of the decade.
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