Last week, representatives of the Panama Canal hosted executives from the Port of Corpus Christi to tour the Neopanamax locks and discuss growth opportunities for the waterway’s thriving liquid bulk segments.
“As part of our commitment to providing safe and reliable customer service, we continue to work closely with shippers and industry partners to best understand and address their needs as these segments experience unprecedented growth,” said Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano. “We were thrilled to welcome our friends from Texas and have them join us at the locks.”
Currently, liquid bulk accounts for 28.7 percent of all Canal transits. The majority has come from tankers, which have contributed 33.3 million PCUMS tons in fiscal year 2018 (as of March).
Liquified petroleum gas, or LPG, has contributed 7.1 percent of total Canal transits this fiscal year so far, and is the Neopanamax locks’ second largest segment behind containers with 25.4 percent. The waterway’s newest segment, liquified natural gas (LNG), has also emerged as its fastest-growing: just recently, the Canal announced the successful transit of three LNG vessels in one day, marking a first for the route.
The gains in these segments can be attributed in part to the Canal Expansion, which has allowed larger vessels and volumes to transit. But recent surges in terms of U.S. gas and oil exports have also played a role. As one of the nation’s leading exporters of U.S. produced energy, the Port of Corpus Christi has been intimately involved in this growth.
The port also recently received federal approval and partial funding for the commencement of its Channel Improvement Project, which – once complete – will allow for even greater volumes of liquid bulk, including LNG and LPG, to be exported to its global trading partners, in turn driving further volumes through the Canal.
“We’ve long enjoyed a positive relationship with the Panama Canal and valued the chance to witness the scale and operation of its new locks up close,” said Sean Strawbridge, Port of Corpus Christi CEO. “As we prepare to capitalize on the greater export capacity afforded by the dredging of our channel as well as the addition of new terminals coming online in the Gulf of Mexico, we look forward to working alongside the Panama Canal to meet the world’s growing energy needs.”
Last week’s tour follows the Latin Ports Forum, where both the Port of Corpus Christi and Panama Canal participated.
Source: Canal de Panama