The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) recently announced second quarter (Q2) operational metrics for fiscal year 2005. On a macro level, the Canal continues to experience record business, with Panamax transits rising dramatically and setting record levels of tonnage. This quarter, Panama Canal/Universal Measurement (PC/UMS) tonnage increased, along with transits of Panamax vessels, the largest vessel that can pass through the Canal. Booked transits increased while overall transits slightly dropped. Canal Waters Time (CWT), the average time it takes a vessel to transit the Canal including waiting time for passage, slightly increased because of the continued growth of Panamax vessel transits. These metrics are based on the second quarter of the ACP’s 2005 fiscal year, from January through March of 2005.

During Q2, PC/UMS tonnage increased 3.9%—to 70.9 million PC/UMS tons from 68.2 million PC/UMS tons. There was also an increase in transits of Panamax vessels. Transits of these larger vessels increased 6.6 percent—to 1,396 transits from 1,310 transits, while the number of overall transits decreased in Q2 by 2.9%—to 3,730 from 3,842.

“Our business continues to grow significantly. More tonnage is transiting the waterway than ever because of a surge in transits by Panamax-sized ships. Our ability to attract and accommodate this traffic is a testament to our world-class workforce, who ensures safe, reliable and uninterrupted transits for our customers,” said ACP Maritime Operations Director Jorge Quijano.

The percent of booked transits to total transits increased 5.9%—to 48.3% from 45.5%. Booked transits are those reserved by vessels to transit on a specific date. Use of the booking system increased 2.9%—to 94.9% from 92.3%. In March, a new record for the most booked transits was achieved—to 640 transits from the previous record of 599, set in January 2005.

Overall CWT remained reasonable during Q2, compared to last year, with a slight increase of 5.8%—to 25.98 hours from 24.56 hours. CWT for booked transits did not materially change; it increased just 1.7%—to 16.31 hours from 16.03 hours.

The official accident rate remained steady, with a minimal increase of three percent—to 1.07 accidents per 1,000 transits from 1.04 accidents per 1,000 transits in Q2 FY2004. An official accident is one in which a formal investigation is requested and conducted.

*All statistics are made in comparison to the same period (Q2) of the ACP’s 2004 fiscal year.