AJOT Digital Edition | Issue #577

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Northeast Ports

Export-Import Bank

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2014 Media Kit

Panama Canal rail traffic hit by computer glitch

Author: AJOT | Mar 24 2013 at 08:00 PM | Category: Ports & Terminals  

Thousands of containers have been stuck at Panamanian ports after a computer glitch hampered communication with the railway, causing significant delays, officials said.

The Panama Canal Railway Co transports about 1,500 containers daily between the only port on the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal and three ports on the Atlantic, said Thomas Kenna, director of operations for the railway.

But a computer upgrade by Panama Ports Co, which manages two of those ports, caused severe lags, Kenna said.

Since then, the railway has moved only about 350 containers a day. Traffic picked up this past weekend, and the system should be operating normally, Kenna added.

He did not have a dollar figure for damages incurred, but noted: “In this very intense, high-volume system, when any containers can’t move, it starts building up and impacts customers. Transit times are very important.”

A spokesman for Maersk Line, the biggest user of Panama’s railroad, ports and canal, did not immediately return calls.

Traffic at the Panama Canal, which handles about 5 percent of world trade, was not impacted, a spokeswoman said. About 33,500 containers transit the waterway each day. (Reuters)