Following the close of the 2015 fiscal year, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) announcedthat it has set a new historical tonnage record, welcoming 340.8 million Panama Canal tons through the Canal.
The spike represents a year-on-year increase of 4.3 per cent and highlights the Canal’s value and significance to global maritime trade.
The previous record was set in FY2012 when the Canal experienced 333.7 million PC/UMS tons. This year’s record surpasses that amount by more than 7 million tons.
The Panama Canal noted that container ships registered the most total tonnage, followed by dry bulk, liquid bulk and car carriers. Compared to the other segments, liquid bulk saw the most notable boost, reporting an increase of 23 percent, or 11.9 million PC/UMS tons, due to booming diesel, gasoline and propane exports from the U.S. Gulf Coast to South America and Asia.
The container ship segment also recorded positive results, seeing a 3.7 per cent increase in PC/UMS tonnage year-on-year. Seven new liner services were introduced in January of this year, which also contributed to the increase in cargo passing through the Canal: five in the US East Coast–Asia route, one US West Coast–Europe route, and another one on the North-South route.
In addition, the car carrier segment recorded an increase of 5.2 per cent as a result of exports from Mexico’s West Coast destined to the US East Coast.