Panama City, Panama, December 18, 2017 – The Panama Canal has announced an increase in the maximum allowable draft, after recent rainfall brought the Gatun and Alajuela Lakes to their operating limits.

Therefore, effective immediately and until further notice, the maximum allowable draft for vessels transiting the Neopanamax locks will be increased to 14.33 m (47.0 feet) Tropical Fresh
Water (TFW).

With the expected arrival of the dry season in the next few weeks, the Panama Canal will continue to monitor and manage the water levels of the Gatun and Alajuela Lakes. Any necessary updates to the maximum allowable draft will be announced in a timely manner.

As part of its overarching commitment to reducing environmental impact and preserving water resources, the Panama Canal has been implementing a series of preventive water conservation measures in its operations for several months. These efforts include the stoppage of electricity generation at Gatun hydroelectric plant, the suspension of hydraulic assist procedures at the Panamax locks for deep draft and maximization of tandem lockages – all measures that add to the use of the water-saving basins of the Neopanamax Locks.

The Canal will continue to provide information on the measures being taken and closely monitor the situation to ensure the security and efficiency of its services.