On World Maritime Day, industry recognizes the waterway’s commitment to advancing sustainable shipping and its continued safe, reliable service to global energy markets amid uncertainty
Panama City, Panama, September 24, 2020 – The Panama Canal has been selected as a finalist by the Platts Global Energy Awards for its Award of Excellence for Midstream Companies. This prestigious award recognizes organizations involved in energy storage, transportation and trade that have adapted exceptionally to an ever-changing landscape while connecting markets and continued to offer the highest standard of customer service.

“We are honored to be recognized for our role in facilitating global energy markets safely and reliably in recent months,” said Panama Canal Administrator, Ricaurte Vásquez. “Despite the challenges faced across the industry this year, our team stepped up to ensure the Panama Canal continued to offer innovation and partnership.”

The Panama Canal has connected global energy markets for decades, though its impact was accelerated in June 2016 with the opening of the Expanded Canal. The new, wider Neopanamax Locks allowed liquefied natural gas (LNG) vessels to transit for the first time, offering a new route for sending rising U.S. LNG to Asia at competitive prices.

Both LNG and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vessel traffic grew exponentially following the Expanded Canal’s opening, quickly becoming the fastest growing segments at the Panama Canal. The waterway has since continued to draw shippers and connect new energy markets. Just last month, the Panama Canal reached a new milestone by welcoming the SK Resolute, an LNG tanker that became the 10,000th Neopanamax vessel to transit through the Expanded Canal. The LNG segment now represents 12 percent of transits at the Expanded Canal, surpassed only by container ships with 46 percent and LPG with 25 percent.

An enabler for a sustainable energy transition, the Canal’s accomplishments go beyond offering an improved transportation option to energy producers.

“The Panama Canal represents not only a competitive route for a growing market, but also an opportunity for shippers to elevate their sustainability efforts, from reducing their greenhouse gas emissions to preventing collisions with migrating whales in partnership with our team,” said Alexis Rodríguez, Panama Canal Environmental Specialist. “For this reason, we are particularly proud to receive this acknowledgement as the industry embraces this year’s theme for World Maritime Day: sustainable shipping for a sustainable planet.”

In recent years, the Canal has built upon its role as a green route to maximize its environmental and operational efficiency across segments. Specifically, the Panama Canal continues to advocate for route optimization as a critical tool, that if used across the industry, could offer tangible, significant reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ships. For example, LNG carries traveling from Sabine Pass to Tokyo via the Panama Canal will take around 38 days, as opposed to the over 60 days via the Suez Canal.

In addition, the waterway has leveraged innovation and creativity to reduce GHG emissions and optimize its all-water route further. By amplifying the critical impact of port call optimization and digitalization and upgrading its Maritime Single Window (VUMPA), the Canal has streamlined transit paperwork and saved over 300,000 paper forms and 3,200 hours each year. Driven by technology, the Emissions Calculator and the Green Connection Environmental Recognition Program are instrumental in helping the Expanded Canal achieve its projected CO2 reduction goal of up to 160 million tons by 2026. In its 106 years of operation, the Panama Canal has allowed vessels to save time and fuel by reducing voyage distances, representing a reduction of more than 830 million of tons of CO2.

S&P Global Platts, a global provider of energy and commodities information and spot market benchmarks, will announce the winner of the award at their 22nd ceremony, taking place virtually on December 10th.

About the Panama Canal
The Panama Canal Authority is an autonomous legal entity of the Republic of Panama in charge of the operation, administration, management, preservation, maintenance, and modernization of the Panama Canal, as well as its activities and related services, so that the Canal may operate in a safe, continuous, efficient manner. For more information, please refer to the Canal’s website: http://www.pancanal.com or follow us on Twitter @thepanamacanal.