As of 16 January, the authority will allow 24 ships to transit the waterway

Panama Canal

The Panama Canal authority is to increase the number of daily transits to 24 starting from mid-January. Currently, 22 ships are allowed to transit the waterway each day – 6 Neopanamax and 16 Panamax vessels. This number was due to be cut to 20 in January and 18 in February after the authority anticipated a worsening of the severe drought conditions affecting the canal following the driest October in the history of the canal basin.

The canal is fed by the Gatun Lake, which provides the millions of litres necessary to operate the waterway.

Applications for the new slots will begin in coming weeks to begin transit on 16 January, the authority said. But it warned that only one booking slot will be allowed per customer per date, regardless of when the slot was booked, with some exceptions tied to auction and competition slots.

Slots are allocated according to highest bid in auction processes, full containers, market and customer rankings.

The authority said the customer limit and prioritisation of slots will continue until further notice.