The Panama Canal closed the first semester of fiscal year 2020 with 7% more than the expected transits for the period, its administration reported on Thursday, which stated that it closely follows the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the world market. and guarantees a safe operation of the interoceanic route.
During the first half of the fiscal year (October-March) the channel registered 7,528 transits, 7% above the 7,029 projected, and a load of 258.4 million tons, 4.4% more than the 247.4 budgeted.
The Panama Canal Administration (ACP) stated in a statement that the container segment continued to lead with 82.1 million tons, followed by bulk carriers with 41.8 million and chemical tankers with 39.9 million tons.
The ACP administrator, Ricaurte Vásquez, commented that despite the “challenges facing the industry today” due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the commercial activity that its combat has brought, the numbers registered by the Panama Canal “They show that world trade is still moving.”
The channel “continues to play its role in helping to ensure the continuity of global supply chains. While we face uncertainty in the coming weeks, we are committed, now more than ever, to ensuring that our route remains open and reliable for everyone who depends on us to transport essential goods, “he stressed.
The waterway, through which about 6% of world trade passes, “is closely monitoring and evaluating the evolution of the pandemic to get a complete picture of the situation, while ensuring that the most up-to-date data is used to support decision making. ”
This includes “close monitoring of various factors” including the trade relationship between the United States and China, its first and second largest users, respectively, the price of oil, “as well as alternative routes, including the Suez Canal, the Cape of Good Hope and intermodal transportation in the United States. ”
“The Canal will continue to operate normally and with the necessary personnel to maintain the inter-oceanic highway transit operations,” ACP said, after reiterating that it has taken the necessary measures to safeguard its personnel.
The Panama Canal connects more than 1,700 ports in 160 countries.