Less than three years since its inauguration, the Expanded Panama Canal commemorates a milestone transit by a Q-Flex vessel, the world’s second largest LNG tanker class.
Panama City, Panama, May 13, 2019 – The Panama Canal yesterday
welcomed Qatargas’ Al Safliya, the first Q-Flex and the largest
liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker to ever transit the waterway.
The tanker–which measures
315 meters in length and 50 meters in beam with an overall cargo capacity of
210,000 meters3 of
LNG–transited northbound from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean.
“This transit reaffirms the Expanded Canal’s ability to reshape world trade and
offer customers the benefits of economies of scale,” said Panama Canal
Administrator Jorge L. Quijano. “The Panama Canal team is grateful for the
industry’s continued confidence in our services and looking forward to
welcoming many more Q-Flex vessels in the future.”
Q-Flex LNG tankers can now pass through the Panama Canal following an increase
in the maximum allowable beam for vessels transiting the Neopanamax locks.
Implemented in June 2018, the maximum beam allowed is 51.25 meters, up from 49
meters, as measured at the outer surface of a vessel’s shell plate and all
protruding structures below the lock walls. Such an increase was made possible
as a result of the efficiencies gained by the Panama Canal’s continued
investment into its operations and resources, and due to the ongoing excellence
and experience of its employees.
The milestone transit also underscored the Expanded Canal’s environmental
benefits as a result of its ability to help vessels shorten the distance and
duration of their trips compared to alternate routes. In combination with Al
Safliya’s Q-Flex class design, which allows for the 40% reduction of emissions
in comparison to other gas carriers, the Panama Canal and Qatargas saved nearly
10,000 tons of CO2 emissions
compared to alternative routes, directly reducing of global emissions.
This achievement comes less than a month after the Expanded Canal celebrated
its 6,000th Neopanamax vessel to transit, a milestone
marked by another LNG tanker, Energy Liberty, on April 23.
The Panama Canal is expecting to see further growth in its LNG transits
following the new beam increase. In 2018, the Canal saw 340 LNG transits, up
from 181 transits in 2017. So far in 2019, the Canal has seen over 100 LNG
About the Panama Canal Authority (ACP)
The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) 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 ACP’s website: http://www.pancanal.com or follow us on Twitter @thepanamacanal.