1055 - 08/15 - New Draft Restrictions, Panama Canal - Panama

UPDATE: On 28th August 2015 the Association has been further advised that the reduction of the draft restrictions for Panama Canal has been suspended. Therefore, and until further notice, vessels will continue to be allowed to transit at their maximum Panama Canal approved draft up to 12.04 meters (35.9 feet) TFW.

UPDATE: On 21st August after publication we have been advised that the second draft restriction up to 38.5 feet, scheduled for 15 September 2015, has been postponed due to the recent rain in the area.


Further to our Bulletin 1051, we have been advised that the new draft restrictions for Panama Canal will be effective from 8 September 2015.

The maximum permitted transit draft for the Panama Canal is set to 11.89 meters (39.0 feet) Tropical Fresh Water (TFW).

Vessels loaded prior 11 August 2015 may be allowed to transit with a TFW draft of up to 12.04 meters (39.5 feet), subject to safety considerations.  Vessels loaded on or after 11 August 2015, must comply with the new restriction and may be required to trim or offload cargo, depending on the actual level of Gatun Lake at the time of the transit. If the lake level allows the transit of vessels at a draft deeper than announced, they will be allowed to transit despite not complying with the loading deadline.

The 28 days of warning is specifically directed at vessels that are loading in distant ports to adjust their cargo loading plans, allowing them to comply with the draft restriction once they complete their lengthy trip and arrive to Panama Canal waters.

Vessels may load to drafts deeper than 11.89 meters (39.0 feet) up to 12.04 meters (39.5 feet) after 11 August 2015 provided that they transit prior to 8 September 2015.

It is anticipated that the maximum authorised transit draft may be further reduced to 11.73 meters (38.5 feet) TFW on 15 September 2015. Implementation of this further reduction, if approved, will be further advised.

Source of Information

C. Fernie & Co. S. A.
Email: ferniepi@cfernie.com

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