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THE PANAMA CANAL


Sunny days ahead for ACP T


he Panama Canal’s ‘expansion is steadily moving forward, following the pouring of permanent concrete in both the Pacific and Atlantic locks in July 2011 marking one of the important stages of their construction. The works are going well and once the GUPC Consortium [in charge of the construction of the future locks] began to place concrete, ‘the production is a repetitive effort, which makes us confident that the expansion programme will be concluded on time and budget,’ says Panama Canal Authority (ACP) administrator, Alberto Aleman Zubieta. ‘We feel that the expansion programme is advancing satisfactorily on many fronts: dredging, final dry


excavations for the access channel, the construction of the locks and the fabrication of the gates that began in Italy and should be ready by end-2012,’ he adds.


The Panama Canal has performed as forecast during Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 (October 2009-September 2010), registering a slight decline in total transits to 14,230 vessels, down by 0.78% from 14,342 transits a year ago. During the first three quarters of FY 2011 (October 2010-September 2012), transits reached 11,416.


Cargo volume increased slightly by 0.56% to 300.8m in Panama Canal/Universal Measurement System (PC/UMS) tonnes, up from 299.1m


PC/UMS tonnes the previous year. During the three first quarters of FY 2011 (Q1- Q3) cargo volume totalled 246.8m PC/UMS tonnes, foreseeing an increase of tonnage in FY 2011.


Canal Water Time (CWT), that measures the time a vessel spends in Canal waters, dropped by 8.45% to 21.11 hours in FY 2010, down from 23.06 hours the year before. However, during the first three quarters of FY 2011, Canal Water Time raised slightly to 27.24 hours, mostly due to the works for the Panama Canal expansion. Over the last 12 months, the ACP has renewed partnerships with ports along the US eastern seaboard with the signing of Memoranda of Understanding with ports


Murals at the ACP Administration building PANAMA MARITIME REVIEW 2011/12 9


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