The Panama Canal, one of the busiest trade routes in the world, is suffering from a sharp decrease in its water volume due to the El Niño phenomenon and the climate crisis affecting the rainfall regime in the region. Unlike other famous shipping lanes such as the Suez Canal, the Panama Canal runs on fresh water, which makes it more vulnerable to bad weather.
Since the beginning of the year, operations have been carried out with restrictions, affecting to a greater or lesser extent more than 100 countries and a variety of commodities – from Brazilian soybeans and beef to LNG from the United States and copper from the United States. Shelley. . Last week, there was a traffic jam involving two hundred ships crossing the canal that connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
The Panama Canal Authority (ACP), which operates the waterway, has imposed restrictions on the number of ships in transit: if there used to be about 40 ships passing through there per day, the limit is now 32, and the restrictions are expected to expire in August. It must remain in place for at least 10 months Reuters.
Expectations worry. Experts fear that the phenomenon of drought will become the “new normal” in the path that transports 6% of global maritime trade, with effects on commercial logistics services and the difficulty of controlling inflation, especially in food prices.
And the deputy director of the authority, Elijah Espino, recommended that ship owners wishing to use the canal make reservations early to avoid delays, bearing in mind that we are approaching the season and end-of-year celebrations such as Christmas.
“We are currently seeing an increase in the number of arrivals. It is the high season with December approaching, so Christmas goods are being traded in,” he added. There is also a fear of the changing seasons. “Some customers have come to us because winter is coming in Asia and energy products will start getting more traffic again. They are a bit worried about the queues,” he explained.
Faced with crowding, cargo owners considered the feasibility of other alternatives, such as the Strait of Magellan, the passage at the far end of South America between the continent and the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego.
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