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More and more ships jammed in front of the Panama Canal

The queue at the entrance to the Panama Canal is getting longer and longer. There are currently already 123 ships. It is likely to grow even further.

The reason for this is the ongoing drought as a result of this year’s El Niño phenomenon, according to reports. As a result, the water level in Lake Gatún, which is used both as a water reservoir for the canal and for the region’s drinking water supply, has fallen sharply. In response, the ACP canal authority reduced both the number of passages and the permitted draught of the ships. [ds_preview]

There are currently 123 ships waiting to pass through. Although this is still some way off the peak of 160 ships, it is also well above the seven-year average of 90 freighters since the new locks were opened.

No improvement in sight for the Panama Canal

There is no improvement in sight. From February next year, only 18 ships per day will be allowed to pass through the canal, compared to the current maximum of 25. Many shippers and shipping companies are now choosing alternative routes, as container ships account for the lion’s share of the limited slots.

This year’s October was the driest month since the first records were kept 73 years ago. According to the ACP, 41% less precipitation was measured than usual. The restrictions on shipping will therefore have to be tightened further in the coming months.

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