On Oct 1, the Panama Canal Authority will lift its daylight and encounter bans on LNG vessels to offer more opportunities for transits of the Canal.
The Canal Authority expects LNG transits to grow by more than 50 per cent by the end of the current financial year compared with the 2017 total.
Manuel E Benitez, the authority’s deputy administrator, said: “Lifting daylight restrictions means LNG vessels will be able to transit the locks at night, as vessels in other segments currently do. Lifting encounter restrictions means LNG vessels will be able to navigate Gatun Lake at the same time, allowing two different LNG vessels to transit the Canal the same day in two different directions.
“Together these changes will provide more flexibility and time during the day to transit LNG vessels and LNG shippers can compete for a second booking slot.”
The authority said that currently the Canal provides one dedicated reservation slot a day, seven a week, but the demand from LNG shippers is an average 5.5 transits a week.