PANAMA CITY, Panama, October 22, 2009 – The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) released fourth quarter (Q4) operational metrics today for fiscal year 2009. In Q4, Canal Waters Time (CWT), the average time it takes a vessel to transit the Canal, including waiting time for passage, decreased. Additionally, total transits and net tonnage decreased slightly. These metrics are based on operations from July through September 2009, the fourth quarter of the ACP’s 2009 fiscal year (October 2008 – September 2009), and are compared with Q4 of fiscal year 2008.

Average CWT decreased 33.6 percent – to 17.76 hours from 26.73 hours. CWT for booked vessels (those ships holding reservations) decreased 25.2 percent – to 13.14 hours from 17.56 hours.

Total Canal transits decreased just 1.8 percent – to 3,332 transits from 3,393. Transits of supers, larger ships that require greater time and navigation skills to transit the Canal, declined 2.3 percent – to 1,778 transits from 1,819.

With regard to key segments, general cargo, dry bulk and tanker transits increased, while vehicle carriers, container and refrigerated (reefers) transits decreased.

Panama Canal/Universal Measurement System (PC/UMS) tonnage remained nearly constant with a slight 4.8 percent decline – to 71.5 million PC/UMS tons from 75.1 million PC/UMS tons.

“Canal operations experienced minimal downward fluctuations during this past quarter, providing a positive outlook for the next fiscal year,” said ACP Executive Vice President of Operations Manuel Benítez. “As the global economy continues to improve, the ACP will remain dedicated to providing safe, reliable and efficient service to its customers.”

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 Web site: http://www.pancanal.com/.