PANAMA CITY, Panama, September 28, 2004 –The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) is moving more cargo through the Canal than ever before, nearing maximum capacity levels.

Twenty-two million more Panama Canal/Universal Measurement System (PC/UMS) tons were transported through the Canal during the 2004 fiscal year – an eight percent increase from fiscal year 2003. (Two hundred and sixty-two million PC/UMS tons were transported through the Canal during fiscal year 2004.) This marked increase was primarily attributed to a rise in transits by Panamax-sized vessels, particularly containers.

“We’ve been working hard to improve our services, optimizing the Canal’s value and efficiency. This increase reflects our clients’ confidence in the Canal’s reliability. As the Canal makes every effort to increase capacity to match demand, we at the ACP are presented with great opportunities and challenges,” said ACP Administrator Alberto Alemán Zubieta.

In FY2004, 600 more Panamax-sized ships transited the Canal, compared to numbers reported for FY2003. These vessels have greater capacity, moving more containers in a single transit.

To increase the Canal’s capacity, the ACP has pursued an aggressive Permanent Modernization Program that includes deepening Gatun Lake, widening the Gaillard Cut, rehabilitating the locomotive tow tracks – among other projects. “To sustain growth levels at the Canal, it is imperative that we constantly undertake projects, improvements and process changes that allow us to enhance the all-water route’s value,” said Jorge Quijano, ACP Maritime Operations Director.

The ACP also reported an increase in total Canal revenue. The waterway for the first time in 90 years exceeded the one billion mark in revenue.

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 website: http://www.pancanal.com/.