Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Delays expected as Panama Canal schedules maintenance

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Shipowners advised to book early for transits, but there’s a silver lining as delays could boost rates.

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The Panama Canal Authority (PCA) has announced its schedule for maintenance of the Panama Canal, with work commencing at the end of August.

Delays are expected to run into weeks, not days, but the backlog is expected to push up spot rates.

Ships without booked transit slots have experienced delays of up to 14 days during previous periods of maintenance.

Engineers will carry out work at the Miraflores Locks from this Sunday until 10th September and the PCA has advised shipowners to book transits as early as possible.

The PCA has pledged to keep transits at 13 per day for big tankers with beam lengths of between 28 and 33 metres, but according to one tanker company quoted by S&P Global Platts, applying fewer than 25 to 30 days in advance could pose “significant risk, as it may already be too late”.

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