The Panama Canal Authority has declared a surge of over 4 meters in the maximum allowed length of vessels as compared to the earlier limit. It will be accessible to the vessels of more than 370 meters in length. It has been almost five years since the inauguration of the Neopanamax locks.
The Advisory to Shipping No. A-23-2021 by the Panama Canal authority makes the customers aware of the new amendments which are effective immediately and include the increase in the maximum length overall for commercial as well as non-commercial vessels to 370.33 meters (1215 feet), accepted for regular transits for longer and wider locks. It also informs that the vessels more than 267.28 meters (1,205 feet) in length will have to be fortified with a properly functioning bow thruster during transit, or else they may be liable to additional resources which will affect the transit duration and expense of the vessel. These longer vessels will be provided with an additional tug for assistance during northbound journeys into the Agua Clara lock, from Gatun Lake. This additional tug assistance will be compensated accordingly along with the standard tug tariff compensated by the vessel.
The Panama Canal Authority raised the maximum authorized draft in the Neopanamax locks to 15.24 m Tropical Fresh Water (50.0 feet), last week. The current rainfall in the Panama Canal watershed led to this change.