Panama Canal Authority announced modifications to the transit reservation system
Dec 07, 2023
3 min reads
The Panama Canal Authority has recently released three advisories informing about the modifications to the transit reservation system.
Additional Auction Slot in the Panamax Locks and Other Modifications to the Transit Reservation System Rules
As of November 25, 2023, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) offers temporary auction slots in the Panamax Locks based on Gatun Lake levels and rainfall forecasts, aiming to assist vessels facing extended transit queue waits.
The auction is open to all supers and regular vessels in Canal waters for at least 10 days without a booking slot. Announced three days before the transit date, the auction will occur two days prior, with an initial bid of $55,000. The first auction was on November 25, 2023, for a transit date of November 27, 2023.
Subsequent auction dates and slot conditions will be communicated three days before the transit date.
Other Transit Reservation System rule modifications include:
Extraordinary auctions for slots during Booking Period 3, contingent on factors like Gatun Lake level and operational considerations.
Immediate consideration of transit date advancement requests for full containers with 14 days or less between the booking and requested transit date. Exceptions apply to vessels with prior booking slots.
Temporary substitution of supers and Neopanamax vessels with High Mast Lighting designator "C" (HML-C) by vessels with designator "Y" (HML-Y).
The substitution fee for auctioned slots is based on the vessel's regular booking fee, not the winning bid.
Due to the ongoing water deficit, vessels without Transit Reservation may face indefinite delays.
Modifications to the Transit Reservation System Rules Regarding the Special Auction in the Panamax Locks, and Other Information
The Panama Canal aims to enhance fairness and reflect market diversity by implementing a new rule for special auctions outlined above.
This special auction slot is tailored to three market segments, detailed in the table below:
Liquefied Natural Gas Carrier
Liquefied Petroleum Gas Carrier
Dry Bulk Carriers
The Panama Canal will announce the availability of auction slots for each group on a designated day of the week.
Participation dates depend on the number of vessels in each group, communicated through the daily Projected Booking Slots Availability table.
Starting December 2, 2023, the canal may temporarily add one transit per day for each vessel category (Neopanamax, Super, and Regular), contingent on Gatun Lake levels.
This extra slot will be allocated to booked vessels that arrived within 14 days of the booking date, based on arrival and operational factors.
This temporary measure, open to all vessel types, is subject to operational assessment and does not imply transit advancement services.
Additional Auction Slot in the Neopanamax Locks for Full Container Vessels and Other Changes to the Transit Reservation System
Starting December 3, 2023, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) introduces a special auction slot for Neopanamax Locks, available on selected days depending on Gatun Lake levels and rainfall projections.
This exclusive auction is open to Neopanamax full container vessels already in Canal waters without a booking slot.
Detailed eligibility criteria will be announced three days before the transit date.
The auction, with an initial bid of $93,500.00, will occur two days before the transit date. The inaugural auction was set for December 3, 2023, for a transit date of December 5, 2023.
Additionally, the 14-day limitation between booked and transit dates for full container vessels already in Canal waters, as stated in Advisory to Shipping A-51-2023 (above), will not apply.
Vessel priority for transit will be determined by the order of arrival.