Panama Canal breaks freight record despite epidemic crisis


Panama Canal File photo

PANAMA CITY: Despite the congestion crisis at global ports, the Panama Canal set a fiscal year 2021 record for transporting more tons of water than ever before, officials said Thursday.

According to the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), a total of 516 million tons passed through the channel from October 2020 to September 2021, mainly containers, grains, chemicals and liquefied natural gas.

The figures represent an 8.7% increase over the previous fiscal year, which set a record despite the slowdown in the global economy and trade in CoVID-19 epidemics.

“In fact, fiscal year 2021 has been an extraordinary year for the Panama Canal,” ACP chief Ricorat Vasquez said in a video conference call.

The reason for the new cargo record is that ships are getting bigger and crossing the sea with more and more containers, Vasquez said.

In addition, increased demand for grain between China and the United States, as well as increased liquefied natural gas transportation, led to greater traffic flow through the canal.

The new record comes despite a global trade crisis caused by port congestion due to supply chain failures and epidemics, which has led to shortages in some markets.

However, it did not affect the canal, Vasquez said.

More than a million ships have passed through the canal since its inauguration by the United States in 1914.

Panama regained control of the channel in 1999 under the 1977 Panama Canal Agreement.

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