Panama Canal postpones depth restrictions after much-needed rain

Panama City, June 24 (BNA): The Panama Canal will postpone depth restrictions that were set to affect the largest ships traversing the main waterway, the Canal Authority said, after much-needed rains spared the tense sea passage.

Reuters reported that a series of measures were due to take effect on June 25 and July 9, requiring ships to float at higher depths, meaning they need to carry less tonnage or otherwise lose weight and impacting trade in one of the most The busiest commercial crossings in the world.

Panama’s rainy season has been slow to give respite to months of drought. However, between 70 mm (2.76 in) and 80 mm (3.15 in) of rain is expected in the Panama Canal basin in the next 72 hours, according to the country’s weather service.

The Canal Authority said in a warning to customers seen by Reuters that New Panamax vessels can continue to sail at the previous depth limit of 44.0 feet (13.41 metres) and Panamax ships can move at 39.5 feet (12.04 metres).

The administration has not specified when the measures will be postponed yet, but said it will continue to monitor water levels and “announce future draft amendments in due course.”

The canal authority had earlier announced another tightening, which was to take place on July 19, but did not indicate this in the consultations for its clients. The officials did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for clarification.

Since the beginning of the year, the canal has imposed a number of depth restrictions as droughts, caused by the El Niño weather phenomenon, put pressure on the water supply.

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