On 19th October the Panama Canal Authority announced that opening of the new neopanamax locks had helped it to record the third-highest annual tonnage passing through the Canal in over 100 years. In the fiscal year which had just ended, over 330.7 million Panama Canal tons had transited safely, on a total of 12,114 vessels. Neopanamax vessels accounted for around 18.2 million tons, once the expansion project opened in June after 9 years’ construction.
Around 36% of the total passing through were container ships, followed by bulk carriers and tankers. LNG carriers are now also able to use the Canal, and the lifting of a 40-year old ban on crude oil has allowed Panama to export oil for the first time in decades.
A new toll structure was introduced in April, based on the specific type and amount of cargo being carried. The Authority also introduced a Loyalty Reward programme to encourage container ship operators .
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