Shippers saved a million tons of CO2 in January by opting for Panama Canal Route

The Panama Canal released the January data from the CO2 Emissions Dashboard, which calculates the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions saved by vessels that choose to transit the Panama Canal over the most likely alternative route.

January 2021 Data from the CO2 Emissions Dashboard
January 2021 Data from the CO2 Emissions Dashboard

The figures confirmed that customers already saved a million tons of CO2 emissions in the first month of 2021, equivalent to the emissions produced by roughly 215,000 passenger vehicles driven for a year. This translates to each transit saving an average of 1,206 tons of CO2 emissions, roughly the amount a car would produce driving the length of the circumference of Earth 100 times.

Similar to the overall 2020 results announced in January, the containers segment was the main market segment of saved emissions followed by chemical tankers, dry bulk and LPG carriers.

The CO2 Emissions Dashboard was introduced to help inform how the maritime industry adopts initiatives to reduce the carbon footprint. This is informed through the Emissions Calculator, which allows shipping lines to measure their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions per route, including the amount saved by choosing the Panama Canal over other routes.

“The data we will gather at the Canal for this dashboard will better inform our environmental practices and encourage customers to reduce their CO2 emissions in transit,” said Alexis Rodriguez, Panama Canal Environmental Specialist. “This is an important step, but we will also need international cooperation and policy implementation to safeguard the future of the environment and make a lasting impact in shipping.”

The Panama Canal has been a steadfast leader in the maritime industry for reducing carbon emissions. In 2020, the waterway contributed to a reduction of more than 13 million tons of carbon dioxide in comparison to the most likely alternative routes. In its years of operation, the Panama Canal has allowed vessels to save time and fuel by reducing voyage distances, representing a reduction of more than 830 million tons of CO2. The Canal also implemented the Green Connection Environmental Recognition Program, which recognizes customers who demonstrate excellent environmental stewardship and encourages others to implement technologies and standards that reduce emissions.