The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has set a new historical tonnage record, welcoming 340.8 million Panama Canal tons (PC/UMS) through the canal in the 2015 fiscal year. The spike represents a year-on-year increase of 4.3 percent and highlights the canal’s value and significance to global maritime trade, says the ACP.
The previous record was set in FY2012 when the canal experienced 333.7 million PC/UMS tons. This year’s record surpasses that amount by more than seven million tons.
Container ships registered the most total tonnage, followed by dry bulk, liquid bulk and car carriers. Compared to the other segments, liquid bulk saw the most notable boost, reporting an increase of 23 percent, or 11.9 million PC/UMS tons, due to booming diesel, gasoline and propane exports from the U.S. Gulf Coast to South America and Asia.
The container ship segment also recorded positive results, seeing a 3.7 percent increase in PC/UMS tonnage year-on-year. Seven new liner services were introduced in January of this year which also contributed to the increase in cargo passing through the Canal: five in the U.S. East Coast-Asia route, one U.S. West Coast-Europe route, and another one on the North-South route.
In addition, the car carrier segment recorded an increase of 5.2 percent as a result of exports from Mexico’s West Coast destined to the U.S. East Coast.
The Panama Canal’s 2015 fiscal year ran from October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015. The PC/UMS is based on a mathematical formula to calculate a vessel's total volume, one PC/UMS net ton is equivalent to 100 cubic feet of capacity.