Panama Canal increases Neopanamax Locks maximum draft to 48ft

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has increased to 48ft (14.63 metres) the maximum authorized draft for ships transiting the Neopanamax Locks, effective July 25. Previously the maximum draft was set at 47ft (14.33 metres) As of July 25th. ACP said that vessels with drafts over 48ft may be allowed to transit, depending on the actual level of the Gatun Lake, or will be required to off-load cargo in order to transit.

The ACP said in its July 24 announcement that future draft adjustments would be made in a timely manner as it continues to monitor the water level of the Gatun Lake.

Aframax and Long Range 2 vessels, which have a maximum draft of 14.9 metres when fully laden, will not be able to transit the Neopanamax locks at the 14.63 meter restriction. Fully laden Suezmaxes cannot transit the canal at a 45.5ft draft, as tankers of this class usually require a 50ft draft for a full 1m barrel cargo of 43 API crude.

Neopanamax and Capesize require maximum drafts of 15 metres and 20 metres respectively.

Clean Medium Range and LR1 tankers, dirty Panamax tankers, all LNG tanker classes, Handysize, Supramax and Ultramax, and Panamax size dry bulk carriers, can transit fully laden at the restricted 48ft draft, reported Platts.