THE PANAMA Canal Authority (ACP) has announced an increase to the number of daily vessel transits, effective next month.

On 11 July the number of transits is set to increase to 33, up from the current 32, as an additional slot is added to the Neopanamax locks (bringing the daily number of Neopanamax transits to nine).

The total number of daily transits is scheduled to rise again on 22 July, to 34 transits, as an additional slot is introduced to the Panamax locks (bringing Panamax daily transits to 25).

The planned adjustments are based on the current and anticipated Gatun Lake water levels, which were affected by drought throughout 2023. ACP has been easing restrictions gradually since levels began to improve.

“Additionally, taking into consideration the positive effect of the rainy season in the Canal watershed and based on the present and projected level of Gatun Lake for the following weeks, the maximum authorised draught, effective June 15, 2024, for vessels transiting the Neopanamax locks will be 14.02 metres,” ACP said in an advisory to shipping.

“For booking dates from July 22, 2024, an additional booking slot in the Panama locks will be offered to Supers during booking period two and will be offered at the opening of the second period competition on July 8, 2024, increasing the total number of daily transits within Neopanamax and Panamax locks to 34.”

ACP said it would continue to monitor weather conditions on a daily basis to implement the necessary operational actions in the event of increased rainfall in its watershed.