Panama, November 30, 2000. Panama Canal tolls were higher than budgeted for the month of October 2000, with tolls revenues reaching $52.9 million, $2.3 million above the forecast, and $4.2 million (8.6 percent) above revenues the same month last year, according to Panama Canal Authority (ACP) Administrator Alberto Aleman Zubieta’s report to the ACP Board of Directors.

The Canal’s October performance was discussed yesterday during a Board of Directors meeting, held at the Panama Canal Museum. During his briefing, Aleman Zubieta reported that oceangoing transits averaged 34.2 per day, for a total of 1,059. Panamax vessels accounted for 39.6 percent of all oceangoing traffic, well above the ACP forecast of 35.2 percent. Additionally, a growth of 9.7 percent was noted, compared to 382 Panamax transits registered in October 1999.

Regarding the Culebra Cut widening program, Aleman Zubieta advised that the dry excavation is currently 97.5 percent complete while underwater excavation is 85 percent complete. Likewise, 89.4 percent of the dry drilling and blasting has been completed, and underwater drilling and blasting is currently at 94.2 percent completion.

During today’s meeting, the Board of Directors also received reports from the Audit and Finance, New Businesses and Budget committees.