Average CWT decreased 19.3% to 24.18 hours from 29.98 hours. CWT for booked vessels (those ships holding reservations) decreased by 2.4% from 17.2 to 16.78 hours. According to the ACP, the drop in CWT can be attributed to general operating efficiency, the effective use of the waterway’s tie-up stations and a slight decline in transits.
Panama Canal/Universal Measurement System (PC/UMS) tonnage dropped 2% to 79m PC/UMS tons from 80.6m PC/UMS tons. Total Canal transits remained nearly flat with a decline of 1.4% to 3,518 transits from 3,568. Transits of supers, larger ships that require greater time and navigation skills to transit the Canal, declined 3.6% to 1,900 transits from 1,971.
“Soaring oil prices and a general economic downturn, including the US housing crisis, the credit crunch and the dollar devaluation, have impacted global production and trade. As a result, we have seen a slight drop in tonnage and transits during the period,” said Rodolfo Sabonge, ACP’s vice president research and market analysis. “All these elements have affected the demand of manufactured products and the volume of imports bound to the US – the waterway’s largest user – impacting the transpacific route, including the Panama Canal,” he said.