Panama Canal Closes Fiscal Year 2023 with 2.8% Fewer Transits - Expat Community

Panama Canal Closes Fiscal Year 2023 with 2.8% Fewer Transits

Oct 6, 2023 | News & Articles, Panama | 0 comments

The Panama Canal concluded fiscal year 2023 with 12,638 transits, marking a 2.8% decline from the 13,003 recorded in fiscal year 2022. Despite this decrease, the number of transits surpassed the Panama Canal Authority’s (ACP) forecast of 12,527 for 2023.


In terms of ship types, Neopanamax vessels, transiting through the expanded Canal, accounted for 3,623 transits in 2023 or 28.67% of total operations. This represents a slight increase of 0.11% compared to the 3,619 Neopanamax transits in 2022. However, Panamax ships experienced a 3.9% decline in transits, totaling 9,015 in fiscal year 2023 compared to 9,384 in the previous year.


Looking at specific vessel segments, Panamax container ships saw a significant drop, with 1,036 transits in 2023, an 11.8% decrease from the 1,175 in 2022. In contrast, Neopanamax container ships recorded 1,751 transits in 2023, a 6.3% year-on-year increase from 1,647 in 2022.


Bulk carriers also experienced changes in transits. In the Panamax category, there were 2,301 transits, a decline of 6.5% from 2,462 in fiscal year 2022. Neopanamax bulk carriers saw a more significant drop of 22.31%, with 348 transits in 2023 compared to 448 in 2022.


Chemical ships saw a reduction in both Panamax and Neopanamax categories, with a 5.4% decline for Panamax (from 2,311 in 2022 to 2,185 in 2023) and nearly a 50% drop for Neopanamax, decreasing from 21 to 11 transits in 2023.


The gas carrier segment witnessed varying trends. Panamax gas carriers had a 25.2% increase in transits, rising from 788, while Neopanamax carriers grew by 11.12%, from 872 in 2022 to 969 in 2023.


However, there was a substantial reduction in the transit of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) vessels through both Panamax and Neopanamax locks. Panamax locks saw an 83% decline from 18 in 2022 to just three in 2023, while Neopanamax locks recorded 323 LNG transits, down 9.26% from 356 in 2022.


ACP administrator Ricaurte Vásquez pointed out that the transit of LNG vessels had decreased due to the rerouting of ships from the United States to Europe amid the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.


In its 2023 budget, the ACP had anticipated managing 510.3 million tons of CP/Suab 97 (Panama Canal Universal Ship Measurement System), representing a 2.8% decrease compared to the estimates for the end of fiscal year 2022 due to global economic disruptions, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.


For 2024, the ACP projected a total of 11,012 transits, reflecting a 12.09% reduction compared to the 12,527 approved for fiscal year 2023. –

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