In an important milestone that reflects the increasing global demand for its services, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) announced today that the Canal broke one annual record and set two new single-day records. The waterway surpassed its annual mark of transiting 300 million Panama Canal tons for the first time in Canal history; broke the record for the transit of Panamax ships – the widest vessels to cross the Canal; and, set another record in total Panama Canal/Universal Measurement System (PC/UMS) tonnage transit in a single day. Additionally, the Canal tied its record for the transit of “super” vessels, ships measuring 91 feet or more in beam.
“Everyday, we strive for excellence in our work and we are very proud of these accomplishments,” said ACP Vice President of Operations Manuel Benitez. “Surpassing our annual tonnage mark, setting a new Panamax transit record and tying our previously set transit record for ‘supers,’ reflect the dedication of the Canal employees and our continued commitment to providing an efficient, safe and reliable service to our customers. We’ve set the bar high and we look forward to even greater accomplishments in the future.”
The new transit record of 25 Panamax vessels set on Wednesday, September 19, breaks the previous mark of 24 set in July 2003. Contributing to the new record were 10 bulk carriers, six container ships, three vehicle carriers, three tankers, two roll on/roll off vessels and one container/breakbulk ship. On that same day, a record 1,113,682 PC/UMS tons transited the waterway; this breaks the record of 1,072,353 set on May 6, 2007. On September 20, for the first time in Canal history, the waterway surpassed its annual mark transiting 300 million Panama Canal tons, well above the 296.1 million tons reached in the previous year.
The Canal tied its March 2006 and June 2006 transit record for “supers” when 27 of these ships traversed the Canal on September 19. Due to their wide beams (width) and length overall, supers have greater limitations and require more resources and time to transit the waterway.