Panama Canal further decreases maximum draft for Neopanamax locks


Starting from 30 April 2019, the Maximum Authorized Draft for vessels transiting the Neopanamax locks will be 13.41 meters (44.0 feet) Tropical Fresh Water (TFW), the Panama Canal Authority announced.

The Draft was estimated based on the present and projected levels of Gatun Lake for the following weeks, the Authority said.

However, vessels arriving after 30 April 2019, with drafts over 13.41 meters (44.0 feet) TFW may be allowed to transit, depending on the actual level of Gatun Lake at the time of transit.

Otherwise, they will be required to trim or off-load cargo in order to be allowed to transit.

Draft adjustments will be announced in 12-inch (30.5 cm) decrements, generally with at least four weeks advanced notice.

The Authority had to limit the Maximum Authorized Draft in its Neopanamax locks five times in the last year, due to an intense drought related to El Nino phenomenon which has significantly lowered the level of Panama's Gatún Lake.

From 27 February, the maximum authorized draft for vessels transiting the neo-panamax locks had been 14.63 metres (48.0 feet) TFW , while from 10 April 2019, the Maximum Authorized Draft was 13.72 meters (45.0 feet) TFW.

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