Record canal tonnage; Drop in transit time; Increased large vessel transits
The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) announced operational metrics for the 2005 fiscal year (FY 05). Year-end statistics reveal a significant drop in Canal Waters Time (CWT), the average time it takes a vessel to navigate the Canal, including waiting time for passage. Moreover, the numbers show a rise in total tonnage and an increase in transits by vessels 900 feet or more in length overall. The ACP’s fiscal year runs from October to September.
Overall CWT for Panama Canal transits dropped 7.8%, compared to statistics from the 2004 fiscal year—to 24.58 hours from 26.66 hours. CWT for booked vessels (those ships holding reservations) remained the same at 16.4 hours. Booked vessels account for more than 50 percent of oceangoing transits. Utilization of the booking system increased to 91.3% from 86.9% in FY 04.
This fiscal year, the ACP set a Canal record by transiting 279.1 million Panama Canal/Universal Measurement System (PC/UMS) tons of cargo (from 266.9 million PC/UMS tons in FY 04). This 4.5 percent increase represents a difference of 12.2 million more PC/UMS tons.
“These operational metrics—produced quarterly and annually—are critical tools for us to measure and analyze our business. They show where we are succeeding and where we need to improve. The fact that they show improvement is a testament to our world-class workforce—our employees work hard everyday to provide the best service to our customers,” said Administrator/CEO Alberto Aleman Zubieta. “We are proud of our recent success and are eager to continue initiatives under our Permanent Modernization Program.”
Overall transits remained steady at 14,011 from 14,035 in FY 04. Notwithstanding, the Canal saw a rise in transits by vessels 900 feet or more in length overall. Transits by these vessels increased 10.1%—to 1,310 transits from 1,190. The positive numbers are largely attributed to the increased use of container vessels by shippers to transport goods to market—97.8 million PC/UMS tons transited the Canal on containers in FY 05, a 13.1% increase over FY 04. Containers were followed by the dry grain segment, transiting 55.1 million PC/UMS tons in FY 05.
The official accident rate increased to 0.94 accidents per 1,100 transits from 0.78 accidents per 1,100 transits in FY 04. An official accident is one in which a formal investigation is requested and conducted.