Less depth of water, less draft. less cargo
The recent rainfall on the Panama Canal watershed has not been enough to reach the levels that lakes should have at this date.
"The rains have been below average and have failed to raise the levels of the lakes," said Carlos Vargas Vice President of Environment and Water of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP)
It has been a situation similar to 2016 when there was also an El Niño phenomenon, but the level of Gatun Lake reached 78.50 feet, explained Vargas.
This time there is a little more water than three years ago has been at 79.50 feet above sea level,
The low level in the lakes has forced the Canal to adjust the draft or depth for the transit of the Neopanamax ships, so these vessels must reduce the weight or load they transport.
At this time, a draft adjustment of 44 feet is maintained, but due to the low levels of the lakes, the shipping companies had been informed that from next June 19, the draft will be lowered one more foot to 43 feet.
The statement sent to shipping companies y, a month ago, indicates that the adjustment would also apply to Panamax vessels, which would have their draft reduced from 39.5 feet to 38.5 feet. However, if on June 19, the lake levels have improved, it would not be necessary to apply the adjustment.
The lack of water in Lakes Gatún and Alajuela forces the ACP to create a third reservoir that allows saving this resource for use in the dry season, both for human consumption and for Canal operations.