Panama Canal Raises Rates Due to Drought Situation 

 Coral Princess

The Panama Canal has added new fees and changed its reservation system to counter historic drought levels.

“Due to changing rainfall patterns and historic low water levels at Gatun Lake, the main source of water for the waterway, the Panama Canal today that it will implement a series of new measures beginning February 15 to sustain an operational level of water and provide reliability to customers while it implements a long-term solution to water,” said a statement from the Panama Canal Authority.

This past year’s rainfall was 20 per cent below the historic average and the fifth driest year in 70 years. It follows several years of lower than average rainfall coupled by a 10 per cent increase in water evaporation levels due to a 0.5-1.5 degree Celsius rise in temperature.

Without fee and operational changes, the Canal’s water levels are projected to drop to levels that would affect the Neopanamax and Panamax Locks. These new measures are intended to better provide reliability in water levels and therefore transit schedules.

A new freshwater fee will be applied to all vessels over 125 feet in length overall (LOA) that transit through the Panama Canal, and will include the following components: A fixed fee of $10,000 per transit and a variable fee ranging from a minimum of 1 per cent to a maximum of 10 per cent of the vessel’s toll will be applied depending on Gatun Lake levels at the time of transit (i.e. if the lake has a higher level, the percentage will be lower and vice versa).

The Panama Canal will adjust the number of daily reservation slots available to 27, replicating the total offered during lane outages.

The waterway will also require that each vessel pays its booking fee in full no later than 48 hours depending on the booking period.

A handling service fee will be applied to all visits for transit at the time they are created in the system. The processing fee will be applied as follows: For vessels 91 feet in beam and over: $5,000. For vessels over 125 feet LOA, but less than 91 feet in beam: $1,500.

The fee will be deducted from the vessel’s tolls invoice once the vessel begins transit. If the vessel cancels the visit and does not transit, the Vessel Visit Creation Fee will not be refunded. All visits created prior to February 15, 2020 will be honoured and will not be required to pay this fee.

“The decision to adopt such measures was taken following an evaluation of the impact of innovative techniques already instituted to save water used in the Canal’s operations. For example, the Panama Canal has been implementing cross-filling lockages, a technique that sends water between the two lanes at the Panamax Locks during transits and saves an amount of water equivalent to that used in six lockages each day,” the Panama Canal Authority said.

Norwegian Bliss Becomes Largest Cruise Ship to Transit the Expanded Panama Canal

Photo: Norwegian Bliss transits the Expanded Panama Canal, May 14, 2018. Photo: Panama Canal Authority

Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Norwegian Bliss on Monday became the biggest cruise ship to transit the Expanded Panama Canal.

The 168,000 gross ton cruise ship has a total length of 325.9 m (1,069.2 ft), beam 41.4 m (135.8 ft) and draft of 8.3 m (27.2 ft).

Norwegian Bliss was delivered by German shipbuilder Meyer Werft in March and, last month, began a 15-day itinerary from Miami, Florida, through the Panama Canal and along the west coast of North and Central America to its final destination in the Port of Los Angeles, California. The vessel will this serve the Alaska region until the end of the cruise season, after which it will reposition itself in the Caribbean.


Photo: Panama Canal Authority

The Panama Canal expects to receive approximately 236 cruise ships through the Panamax and Neopanamax Locks during the 2017-2018 cruise season, which officially began in October.

In April 2017, Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Wonder became the first cruise ship to transit the Expanded Canal.

Norwegian Bliss third ship of the Breakaway Plus class of the Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) and has the passenger capacity of about 4,000.


Photo: Panama Canal Authority

Panama Canal Gives Nod to New Pacific Port

Panama Canal Gives Nod to New Pacific Port

The Panama Canal Board of Directors this week formally approved the development and construction of a transshipment port in Panama’s Corozal region.

Upon completion, the port will have the capacity to handle more than five million TEUs within a 120-hectare area at the Canal’s entrance to the Pacific. The project is now awaiting the final step for approval from Panama’s National Assembly.

The two-phased port project will include the construction of a 2,081-linear-meter-dock, a container yard, offices and warehouse facilities within a 120-hectare area owned by the Panama Canal.

The project’s first phase will include 1,350 linear meters of docks, three docking positions for Post-Panamax ships, and an approximate handling capacity of three million TEUs. Currently, the Pacific side has an estimated capacity of five million TEUs. With the expanded Canal, demand on the Pacific side is expected to reach six million TEUs and by 2020, eight million TEU capacity.

The National Assembly is expected to review the bill in the coming days. If approved, the Panama Canal will move forward with the development and tender process. The Panama Canal will issue a call for bids to hire a company that will be responsible for all stages of the project. The contract will, most likely, consist of a 20-year concession, renewable once for 20 years.

”Advancing the terminal in the Corozal region is a priority. It is part of the Panama Canal’s goal to explore and develop areas, products and services that are close to our core business, and that add substantial value to our customers as a one-stop gateway with multiple services,” said Panama Canal Administrator/CEO Jorge Luis Quijano.

The new port terminal will also include the construction of port facilities capable of handling Post-Panamax vessels. With a terminal of 16.3-meter-deep access canal and a depth of 18 meters along the dock, the new facility will provide docking facilities for five Post-Panamax ships.

Clips of My Panama Canal Transit – 

https://www.youtube.com/user/wetravel2u/videos

Photos of Our Transit and More  –

https://www.flickr.com/photos/45642696@N07/sets/72157649685216732/