The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) released second quarter (Q2) operational metrics today for fiscal year 2009. In Q2, Canal Waters Time (CWT), the average time it takes a vessel to transit the Canal, including waiting time for passage, decreased significantly, while total transits and net tonnage remained nearly flat. These metrics are based on operations from January through March 2009, the second quarter of the ACP's 2009 fiscal year, and are compared with Q2 of fiscal year 2008.

Average CWT decreased 27.9 percent – to 26.22 hours from 36.39 hours. CWT for booked vessels (those ships holding reservations) decreased 19.5 percent – to 15.83 hours from 19.66 hours. The drop in CWT can be attributed to the ACP’s efficient operations and a slight decline in transits.

Total Canal transits slightly decreased 1.4 percent – to 3,914 transits from 3,971. Transits of supers, larger ships that require greater time and navigation skills to transit the Canal, declined 2.9 percent – to 1,815 transits from 1,869.

With regard to key segments, general cargo, dry bulk and tanker transits increased, while refrigerated (reefers), container, vehicle carrier and passenger transits decreased.

“Our results for this quarter paint a favorable picture of how the Canal continues to weather the global economic crisis. Q2 numbers remained steady and we do not expect to see major fluctuations,” said ACP Executive Vice President of Operations Manuel Benítez. “The ACP will continue to follow these developments closely and remains fully committed to meeting the needs of its customers and the industry.”

Panama Canal/Universal Measurement System (PC/UMS) tonnage remained nearly constant with a slight 3.3 percent decline – to 75.7 million PC/UMS tons from 78.4 million PC/UMS tons.

The official accident rate declined 32.4 percent to 1.02 accidents per 1,000 transits from 1.51 per 1,000 transits. An official accident is one in which a formal investigation is requested and conducted.

Utilization of the booking system decreased 15.6 percent – to 79.56 percent utilization from 94.31 percent.