Panama City, Panama, December 14, 2016 – Less than six months after the inauguration of the Expanded Panama Canal, the waterway welcomed its 500th transit of a Neopanamax ship on Wednesday, highlighting the trust that Canal customers have placed in the route.
Performing the 500th transit was the container vessel YM Unity, which first began its passage through the Cocoli Locks in the Pacific and then headed north towards the Agua Clara Locks.
Built in 2006, the YM Unity (of the Yang Ming Marine Transport Corporation) measures 335.7 meters in length and 42.8 meters in beam and has a carrying capacity of 8,200 TEUs. The ship is traveling from Asia and will stop at Colon Container Terminal in Panama before heading to U.S. ports.
Its transit marks a significant milestone for the Expanded Canal, which is experiencing a steady flow of traffic—including containerships, liquid petroleum gas (LPG) vessels, dry bulk carriers, vehicle carriers, crude product tankers and liquefied natural gas (LNG) vessels, which is a new market segment for the Canal.
A number of major liners have rerouted their service to the Canal since the expansion opened for business to take advantage of the significant time savings the new waterway provides. As of this month, ten Neopanamax liner services are being deployed through the Panama Canal.
“We’re increasingly optimistic from what we’ve seen with these traffic patterns because they show that our customers are finding real value in the route—not just in the time savings it offers; but in the efficient, reliable, and safe service we provide; and the growing port and transshipment options we’re making available to them,” said Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano.
“Looking forward, we’re taking steps to enhance Panama’s shipping infrastructure so that we can provide an even more holistic set of offerings to shippers and their cargo, and further strengthen the country’s position as the logistics hub of the Americas,” he said.
In addition to the YM Unity, four other ships transited today through the Expanded Canal on Wednesday. The YM Unity was the first and marked the 500th transit; the other ships included an LNG and LPG vessel, a bulk carrier, and another container ship.
About the Panama Canal Authority
The Panama Canal is run by an autonomous agency of the Government of Panama in charge of managing, operating and maintaining the Panama Canal. The operation of the Panama Canal Authority (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: http://www.pancanal.com or follow us on Twitter @thepanamacanal.
About the Panama Canal Expansion
The Panama Canal Expansion is the largest enhancement project since the Canal’s opening in 1914. Considered and analyzed for a decade with more than 100 studies, the Expanded Canal provides the world’s shippers, retailers, manufacturers and consumers with greater shipping options, better maritime service, enhanced logistics and supply-chain reliability. The Expansion included the construction of a new set of locks on the Atlantic and Pacific sides of the waterway, creating a third lane of traffic and doubling the cargo capacity of the waterway. While the expanded locks are 70 feet wider and 18 feet deeper than those in the original Canal, they use less water due to water-savings basins that recycle 60 percent of the water used per transit. In line with its commitment to customer service, the Panama Canal will continue to provide the world with value for another century and beyond.