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Panama Canal transits sink to new drought-driven low in December

The Panama Canal has faded from the headlines amid all the focus on the Red Sea. But fallout to global supply chains from Panama’s drought is far from over. The country has entered its dry season, which extends until May.

Transits declined yet again in December as reservations were further restricted, according to newly released data from the Panama Canal Authority (ACP).

On a positive note, the pace of the decline has slowed and more rain than expected in November allowed the ACP to increase reservation slots this month.

There were 746 ship transits in December, including transits through both the older Panamax locks and the larger Neopanamax locks that debuted in 2016.

December transits fell 4.7% versus November, a much lower rate of decline than in November, when transits plunged 21.9% versus October.

To put the latest numbers in historical perspective, December’s transits were 27.5% below transits in December 2015, before the Neopanamax locks went into service. The Neopanamax locks took almost a decade to build and cost over $5 billion.

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