Panama Canal cuts ship numbers further
According to authorities, the worst drought in over 70 years will cause the Panama Canal to cut more ships from using it.
During the driest October since records began in 1950, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has been forced to make the decision.
There has been a severe drought due to the El Nio weather phenomenon, according to the ACP.
Shipping goods around the world is expected to become more expensive as a result.
Through the Panama Canal, ships can travel faster and farther between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. According to the canal authority, between 13,000 and 14,000 ships use it annually, operating 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Panama’s drought is caused by a naturally occurring El Nino climate pattern and warmer-than-normal water in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.
According to the ACP, water levels in Gatun Lake, the rainfall-fed reservoir used for the canal’s lock system, have continued to decline to unprecedented levels for this time of year.
According to the ACP, booking slots will be reduced from 31 per day to 25 starting on 3 November.
From February 2024, the number of slots will be reduced to 18 per day over the next three months.
Water restrictions have been imposed by the ACP in recent months.
For the first time ever, authorities cut the number of ships passing through the canal earlier this year.
There have been long delays caused by existing measures, with tens of ships waiting to pass through.
According to the US Energy Information Administration, these delays have pushed up shipping rates elsewhere due to a decrease in the number of vessels available globally.
Some gas transporters were experiencing record delays in Panama, pushing up the cost of shipping liquefied gas from the United States.