Panama City, Panama – The Panama Canal reached a new milestone October 1, 2018 when four liquefied natural gas (LNG) ships with beams of up to 160 feet (49 meters) transited the Neopanamax Locks in a single day. With this milestone, the Panama Canal breaks the record set April 17, 2018, when three LNG vessels transited the waterway on the same day.
The record-setting ships were the Ribera del Duero Knutsen, with a cargo capacity of 173,000 m3, and Maran Gas Pericles, with cargo capacity of 174,000 m3, which transited northbound, and the Torben Spiri,t with a cargo capacity of 174,000 m3, and Oceanic Breeze, with a cargo capacity of 155,300 m3,which transited southbound. The ships facilitate international trade between customers in South Korea, Japan, Chile and the US Gulf Coast.
As a result of experience acquired with the transit of more than 4,200 Neopanamax vessels, the Panama Canal introduced changes to its Transit Reservation System to offer two slots per day to LNG vessels. These modifications have allowed to optimize the Expanded Canal’s capacity to meet specific demands such as the transit of the four LNG vessels in one day.
The modifications — announced in August 2018 and that came into effect today — also allow lifting certain daylight restrictions for LNG vessels, as well as meetings between LNG vessels in opposite directions in Gatun Lake.
“The transit of these four LNG ships in just one day demonstrates the Panama Canal’s commitment to maximizing the efficiency, flexibility and reliability of its service to all customers,” said Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano.
With these modifications, the Panama Canal reinforces its capacity to handle the growing LNG transit demand coming from the United States once the different export terminals begin operation.
About the Panama Canal Authority
The Panama Canal is run by an autonomous agency of the Government of Panama in charge of managing, operating and maintaining the Panama Canal. The operation of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) is based on its organic law and the regulations approved by its Board of Directors. For more information, please refer to the ACP’s website or follow us on Twitter @thepanamacanal.