Canal Sets Safety Record of 172 Consecutive Days Without an Accident; Shatters previous mark from 1963

Canal Waters Time (CWT) is down; Tonnage and Volume increase

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) today announced second quarter operational metrics that indicate that the Canal is running safer and more efficient than ever. It logged in 172 days without an official accident along the waterway – a remarkable accomplishment that shatters the previous record. In 1963, the Canal – then under American management – went 75 days without an official accident. In addition, the ACP announced today that Canal overall tonnage and volume have increased. These results exceed projections, and are based on Canal operations from January through March of 2003. An official accident is one in which an investigation is requested and conducted.

The Canal improved Canal Waters Time (CWT), the average time it takes a vessel to navigate the Canal including time waiting for transit, from 23.5 hours during the second quarter (January through March 2002) to 21.1 hours during the second quarter of FY2003. This reflects a 10.2 percent change, or decrease of transit time of 2.4 hours.

In addition, Canal PC/UMS tonnage increased during the second quarter compared to a year ago. Canal tonnage rose from 59.1 million PC/UMS in the second quarter of FY2002 to 63.2 million PC/UMS during the second quarter of FY2003, a 6.9 percent increase.

“We know from our customers that reliability, safety and timely service are critical. When we make the Canal safer and faster, the more reliably our customers get their goods to market. These numbers are truly a testament to hard-working employees of the ACP and their complete focus on operational safety and efficiency. The Canal is operating better than ever,” said Canal Administrator, Alberto Alemán Zubieta.

Recent Canal improvement and safety projects have received positive feedback from customers. During a recent visit to Panama, Captain Wei Jiafu, president/CEO of the Chinese Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO), a major customer of the ACP, said, “The administrators of the Canal are doing an excellent job managing and operating this important waterway. The Canal’s modernization and improvement projects have enabled us [COSCO] to deliver and meet the demands of our customers by providing goods and products on-time.”

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