PANAMA CITY, Panama, March 4, 2004 – Beginning April 1, 2004, and to be fully implemented on July 1, 2004, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) will begin using a new system to send and receive data to and from vessels planning to transit the Canal. Called the Automated Data Collection System (ADCS), the new system will eliminate the current process of data collection via paper, substituting it with an electronic exchange of information between the ACP and its customers.

Vessels transiting the Canal will be required to report all necessary data 96 hours before arrival. To comply with the new security requirements included in the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS), the ADCS will improve and facilitate the process of data submission needed for risk assessments and transit operations. The ADCS should save time, lessen human error and reduce delays.

Among the expected benefits of the ADCS are:

  • Accurate and timely collection of maritime operations and security information;
  • Improved accurate data validation;
  • Improved user-friendliness. Convenient access via ACP’s Web-based interface;
  • Overall reduction in operation costs and improvement in the competitiveness of the ACP.

The ADCS will be divided into two main components:

  • Electronic Data Collection System (EDCS)
    • The EDCS will function as the ACP’s front-end and receive all preliminary information required for security and operational purposes. The information required for the EDCS is similar to the paper forms used for the current method of data collection and can be downloaded from the Panama Canal Web site –
  • The Mobile Data Collection System (MDCS)
    • The MDCS will allow for wireless communication between the Enhanced Vessel Traffic Management System (EVTMS) database and handheld devices carried by ACP Admeasurers, Boarding Officers and Canal Protection Officers (CPO). The MDCS will allow ACP representatives who board vessels to remotely access the information submitted and provide immediate response in case of discrepancies or errors.

The ADCS is one of the many projects within the permanent modernization program that the ACP is currently implementing to enhance the efficiency and reliability of the Canal, while ensuring the safety of its customers.