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
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
“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.
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.