The Panama Canal has extended its temporary relief measures until December 31, 2020, to further support the industry’s recovery through the COVID-19 pandemic.
The extension is the result of continued dialogue between the Canal and industry leaders on how to best provide relief as the world looks to recover from the economic and social impact of COVID-19.
Ricaurte Vásquez Morales, Panama Canal Administrator, said: “Despite the challenges faced earlier this year, I am confident we will see a steady recovery going into our 2021 fiscal year for both the Canal and its customers.”
The relief measures, which were implemented on May 4 and originally set to run until September 1, include the suspension of advance payments for transit reservation fees and other changes to the waterway’s reservation system.
This has allowed customers to maintain higher liquidity, as well as added flexibility for swapping or substituting booking slots among their own fleets.
Ilya Espino de Marotta, deputy administrator at the Panama Canal, said: “I am encouraged by the growth we are seeing for the container segment, though we are tracking changes in the global trade flows vigilantly.”
Transits at the Panama Canal climbed from 845 in June to 933 in July, largely driven by a surge in containership transits along the US East Coast to Asia route, and this trend is looking to continue in August.
In addition to the extension of the relief measures, the Canal has committed to make the investments in order to secure a sustainable, long-term solution to water levels, furthering the waterway’s operational reliability in the years to come.