PANAMA CITY, Panama, October 28, 2004 –The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) announced today fourth quarter (Q4) operational metrics for fiscal year 2004. Canal Waters Time (CWT), the average time it takes a vessel to transit the Canal including waiting time for passage, decreased this quarter, while tonnage increased and Panamax vessel (the maximum size vessel that can pass through the Canal) transits grew. These metrics are based on operations from July through September 2004, the fourth and final quarter of the ACP’s 2004 fiscal year.

As the ACP continues to run the Canal as a market-oriented business – focused on its customers and its stakeholders – these Q4 metrics indicate improved safety, reliability and efficiency.

Total CWT decreased in Q4 by 4.8 percent – to 25.5 hours from 26.8 hours in Q4 FY2003. CWT for booked vessels, those ships holding reservations, decreased 3.3 percent – to 16.6 from17.1 hours in Q4 FY2003. Booked vessels account for 50 percent of all Canal transits. Moreover, utilization of the booking system (use of the available slots) increased 7.5 percent – to 86 percent from 80 percent in Q4 FY2003.

Total transits increased 5.4 percent – to 3,159 transits this quarter from 2,996 reported in Q4 FY2003. Among these transits, there was a 10.2 percent boost in Panamax vessel traffic – to 1,289 vessels from 1,170. In addition to increased transits, more tonnage was moved through the Canal this quarter. Panama Canal/Universal Measurement System (PC/UMS) tonnage increased this quarter by 9.7 percent – to 63,821,865 PC/UMS tons compared with 58,170,412 PC/UMS tons reported in Q4 FY2003.

Total revenue for Q4 FY2004 increased 9.7 percent – to $181,333,251 from $165,318,300 in Q4 FY2003.

“More transits, more tonnage and a drop in the time ships take to transit the Canal: quite a feat,” said ACP CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta. “As we close this quarter, ending the 2004 fiscal year, we begin a new year committed to further enhancing the Canal’s reliability, efficiency and safety.”

Official accidents reported in Q4 remained the same from those reported for Q4 FY2003: three. However, given the 5.4 percent increase in traffic this quarter, the three accidents represent an improvement to last year when looking at accidents per 1,000 transits, decreasing 5.2 percent – to 0.95 accident per 1,000 from 1.00 accident per 1,000. An official accident is one in which a formal investigation is requested and conducted.

About the Panama Canal Authority (ACP)
The ACP is the autonomous agency of the Government of Panama in charge of managing, operating and maintaining the Panama Canal. The operation of the ACP is based on its organic law and the regulations approved by its Board of Directors. For more information, please refer to the ACP’s website: