The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) announced its operational metrics for the 2007 fiscal year (FY 07) today. Year-end (October – September) statistics reveal a drop in Canal Waters Time (CWT), the average time it takes a vessel to navigate the Canal including waiting time. The numbers show a rise in total annual tonnage, evidenced by the Canal’s record-breaking achievement surpassing the 300 million ton mark. The Panama Canal set another transit record last September by ushering through 25 Panamax ships (the largest vessels able to transit the Canal) in one day.

Fiscal year 2007 CWT dropped 7.4 percent, compared with FY 06 – to 27.84 hours from 30.05 hours. CWT for booked vessels (those ships holding reservations) decreased 4.3 percent to 16.96 hours from 17.72 in FY 06. Booked vessels account for more than 50 percent of oceangoing transits. Utilization of the booking system in 2007 increased to 95.2 percent from 93.5 percent in FY 06.

In fiscal year 2007, the ACP set a Canal record by transiting 313 million Panama Canal/Universal Measurement System (PC/UMS) tons (from 298 million PC/UMS tons in FY 06). This five percent increase represents a difference of 15 million more PC/UMS tons over last year.

“These metrics provide us with the means to consistently measure and analyze our performance and our business. They point to areas where we are succeeding and where we need improvement. This record-breaking year is a testament to our world-class workforce, top-notch service and industry-leading technology.  Our employees are constantly pushing the envelope, trying to be innovative, striving to improve,” said ACP Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta.

Total transits increased 3.7 percent to 14,721 in FY 07 from 14,194 in FY 06.  Additionally, the Canal saw a rise in transits of vessels 900 feet or more in length. Transits by these vessels increased 11.4 percent – to 1,794 transits from 1,610 in FY 06. These numbers are largely attributed to the increased use of container vessels by shippers to transport goods to market.

The official accident rate dropped to 0.68 accidents per 1,000 transits from 0.70 accidents per 1,000 transits in FY 06. An official accident is one in which a formal investigation is requested and conducted.