The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) released first quarter (Q1) operational metrics today for fiscal year 2010. In Q1, Canal Waters Time (CWT), the average time it takes a vessel to transit the Canal (including waiting time for passage) significantly decreased. There also were increases in total transits and net tonnage. These metrics are based on operations from October through December 2009, the first quarter of the ACP's 2010 fiscal year, and are compared with Q1 of fiscal year 2009.

CWT decreased 27.5 percent – to 20.29 hours from 27.97 hours. CWT for booked vessels, those ships holding reservations, also experienced a decrease of 20.7 percent – to 13.43 hours from 16.94 hours.

Total Canal transits increased 2 percent – to 3,590 transits from 3,520. Transits of supers, larger ships that require greater time and navigation skills to transit the Canal, increased 8.1 percent – to 2,026 transits from 1,874.

With regard to key segments, dry bulk and tankers transits increased, while transits of containers, refrigerated cargo (reefers) and vehicle carriers decreased. 

“In the first quarter of 2010, we saw an increase in a few key areas – particularly tonnage and transits – which point to a global economy slowly, but surely, recovering,” said ACP Executive Vice President of Operations Manuel Benítez. “We will go into the remainder of fiscal year 2010 with slightly positive projections and expect sluggish shipping segments to show some recovery.”

Panama Canal/Universal Measurement System (PC/UMS) tonnage increased 3.5 percent – to 80.9 million PC/UMS tons from 78.2 million PC/UMS tons.

The official accident rate declined 0.9 percent to 1.11 accidents per 1,000 transits from 1.12. An official accident is one in which a formal investigation is requested and conducted.

Utilization of the booking system decreased 52.6 percent – to 43.1 percent utilization from 90.9 percent.