The Panama Canal set a new tonnage record in its most recent fiscal year when 340.8 million Panama Canal tons passed through the waterway, an all-time high and representing a year-on-year increase of 4.3 per cent over fiscal 2014.

Container ships registered the most total tonnage, followed by dry bulk, liquid bulk and car carriers, with liquid bulk seeing the biggest increase due to booming diesel, gasoline and propane exports from the US Gulf Coast to South America and Asia.

In addition, seven new liner services were introduced to the canal, helping to contributed to the record, while the car carrier segment recorded an increase of 5.2 per cent because of expanded vehicle exports from Mexico’s West Coast to the U.S. East Coast.

The tonnage record comes ahead of the opening of new locks at Panama, now scheduled for April, despite reports of leakage in the Pacific Coast’s new Cocoli Locks (see SM Dec 2015).

Car carriers, such as Eukor’s 57,542gt Morning Celesta (pictured), help contribute to the new tonnage record. JS

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