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Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has suffered its second hiccup in as many weeks following an otherwise successful expansion last June. Delays in transit for non-booked vessels have forced it to cut its slots for ‘super’ vessels.
ACP cites “unusual delays” as the cause for the temporary reduction in the number of booking slots for supers in the third period will be reduced to five for a total of 15 slots. It will be effective from January 20 and be maintained until further notice.
Supers are vessels 91ft. (27.74m) in beam and over – not Neopanamax ships (which are more than 107 (32.62 m) in beam).
A spokesman for the ACP told The Loadstar: “The advisory has absolutely nothing to do with the Expanded Panama Canal – where Neopanamax ships can transit.”
The measure was being taken to allay shipping line fears following extended waiting periods for their vessels at the canal.
The decision comes in a tough January for the canal. ACP had to perform repairs on the north-east approach wall of the east lane of the Gutan Locks, which forced a three-day closure.