Since the onset of the 2023 dry season, the Panama Canal has implemented various measures to conserve water and promote sustainable transit operations.
These measures include the use of water-saving basins in the Neopanamax Locks and cross-filling in the Panamax Locks.
Furthermore, due to the delayed arrival of this year's rainy season and limited rainfall in the Canal watershed, the Canal has had to reduce its daily transit capacity to around 32 vessels per day starting from July 30, 2023.
This reduction is necessary to effectively manage the available rainfall and maintain Gatun Lake at a level that provides an advantageous draft for our clients.
On September 29, 2023, the Canal announced an additional reduction in capacity, which will be effective from November 1, 2023.
Despite all these measures, the water level of Gatun Lake has continued to decrease to unusually low levels for this time of the year.
The recorded precipitation for October has been the lowest since 1950, with a 41% deficit.
As of now, 2023 ranks as the second driest year for the same period.
Based on the rainfall projections for the upcoming weeks, which currently anticipate a 38% decrease for the rest of the year, the ACP (Panama Canal Authority) has found it necessary to further decrease the daily transit capacity to delay the need for draft reductions below the current 13.41 meters (44 feet) TFW.
As a result, starting from November 3, 2023, until November 6, 2023, the number of available booking slots will be reduced to 25.
From November 7 to November 30, 2023, the number of booking slots will be further reduced to 24.
Additionally, from December 1 to December 31, 2023, the number of booking slots will be decreased to 22, and from January 1, 2024, to January 31, 2024, the number of booking slots will be reduced to 20.
For booking dates starting on February 1, 2024, and until further notice, the number of booking slots will be limited to 18 per day.
Details regarding the number of booking slots and their distribution across various booking periods for different vessel categories under these circumstances can be found in the tables (see the document below).
Condition 3 and Condition 5
ACP has extended the validity of Booking Condition 3 in the Panamax Locks until November 7, 2023.
Meanwhile, the new Booking Condition 5, scheduled to take effect on November 1, 2023, will be applicable for booking dates starting from November 8, 2023.
The specific details regarding the phased implementation of the modifications outlined in Advisory to Shipping A-43-2023 are provided below:
For Supers, starting on November 1, 2023, auction slots for transit dates between November 3 and November 7, 2023, will be made available each day (two days before the actual transit date). Furthermore, any slots that become vacant during these dates, whether due to cancellations or other reasons, will be offered through extraordinary auctions.
There will also be a daily special competition for the new booking slots being introduced for Supers, applicable for transit dates beginning on November 8, 2023.
Similarly, starting on November 1, 2023, the daily auctions for the new Period 3 will be open for booking transit dates that commence on November 8, 2023.
The details can be found in the tables (see the document below).