LatinNews Daily - 23 August 2023

In brief: Drought continues to affect Panama Canal

* The Panama Canal Authority (PCA) has reported that around 120 vessels were awaiting transit through the canal on 22 August, up from the usual 90 vessels waiting to transit on a given day, due to the impact of prolonged drought. Since the end of July, the number of vessels permitted to transit the canal each day was limited to 32 down from an ordinary maximum of 38, impacting the revenue generated by the canal which contributed US$2.5bn to Panama’s national treasury in the 2022 fiscal year. The PCA said it had adapted its operations to try and mitigate the impact of the drought and ensure “a competitive flow of vessels” by limiting booking slots for use of the Panamax locks, which use high levels of water to ease vessel passage, from 23 to 14. “Despite the challenges and measures we have had to take, the high demand for Panama Canal services demonstrates the confidence the global shipping community places in us,” states the PCA, adding that “it underscores our competitiveness and the vital role we play in world trade.” This comes after Colombia’s President Gustavo Petro tweeted on 21 August that the drought was forcing the Panama Canal to close.

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