The Panama Canal has increased the maximum allowable length (LOA) for vessels transiting the Neopanamax Locks. From May 2021, the LOA for commercial and non-commercial vessels acceptable for regular transits of the Neopanamax Locks increased from 367.28 metres to 370.33 metres. The maximum permitted draft has also been increased from 14.93 metres to 15.24 metres.
These seemingly modest increases mean that 96.8% of the world’s fleet of containerships can now transit the Panama Canal, shortening routes and benefiting economies around the world.
Panama Canal Administrator Ricaurte Vásquez Morales said the change was made possible by his team’s experience operating the Neopanamax Locks safely and reliably over the past five years.
The short-cut provided by the Canal reduces vessels’ fuel consumption and therefore emissions, having a positive impact on the reduction of global greenhouse gases compared to other routes.
The extended LOA will provide shipping lines with greater flexibility in making decisions for the deployment and construction of vessels with greater capacity that can transit through the Panama Canal.