The Panama Canal will hold a draw on Friday, April 29, to select the first vessel which will transit through the Expanded Canal when it is inaugurated on Sunday, June 26. The draw will take place at the Panama Canal Administration Building and a Notary Public to serve as witness.
The Panama Canal invited its top 15 customers to participate in the draw for the inaugural transit. Of the invited customers, those interested in participating were required to indicate the Neo Panamax vessel's name, type and dimensions that it plans to deploy on the inauguration day of the Expanded Canal. The Executive Vice Presidency for Operations will verify that each vessel complies with the Panama Canal's requirements.
The proposed vessel is required to not surpass a maximum beam of 49 meters and a maximum overall length of 366 meters. In addition, the maximum draft or point of immersion for the inaugural transit will be 12.5 meters. For security purposes, gas carriers will not be considered for the inaugural transit.
The draw will be carried out with ballots labeled with the name of each participant. A child will select the first ballot and hand it to the Public Notary who will announce the winner of the draw. Afterwards, the same child will pick a second ballot for the shipping line that will be able to deploy a vessel for the inaugural transit in the event that the winner informs the Panama Canal by May 10 that it will not be able to deploy an approved vessel for the inauguration.
In the event that an invited customer declines participation, the Panama Canal may send an invitation to the next customer on the ranking list, up to the customer with a weighted ranking value of less than 16, according to the customer ranking used for bookings as of April 2016 published in https://www.pancanal.com/eng/maritime/transit/index.html.
The winner will incur in all costs associated with the transit, including booking fees and other marine services, which will be charged in accordance with Panama Canal published tariffs.
Only one Neo Panamax vessel in southbound direction will be allowed to transit the Expanded Canal for its inauguration during daylight hours. Regular commercial transits through the Expanded Canal will commence on June 27.
The event will be streaming live on the Panama Canal's YouTube channel.
Source: Panama Canal Authority