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Panama Canal unlocks LNG transit restrictions

Panama Canal will lift daylight and encounter restrictions on LNG carriers effective 1 October 2018 thereby creating additional transit opportunities; it was announced by the deputy administrator Manuel Benitez announced on the sidelines of a conference in Washington, on 28 June. 

LNG vessels, he said, will be able to transit the locks at night, as vessels in other segments currently do, and navigate Gatun Lake to allow two LNG vessels to transit the canal the same day in two different directions. 

   “Together, these changes will provide more flexibility and time during the day to transit LNG vessels and result in an opportunity for LNG shippers to compete for a second booking slot,” Benitez said.

  With these restrictions in place, the Panama Canal currently provides one dedicated reservation slot to LNG carriers per day, which is equal to seven dedicated LNG booking slots per week. This is more than the current demand from LNG shippers, who average 5.5 transits per week.

On 26 June, the Panama Canal marked the two-year anniversary of the inauguration of its Expansion, the largest enhancement project in the waterway's 103-year history. The waterway has welcomed a total of 372 LNG transits in these two last years.


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