Learn About the Panama Canal
Panama Canal Administration
- Panama has full control and management of the Panama Canal since December 31, 1999 when the United States transferred the waterway to Panamanians.
- The Panama Canal Authority is headed by Panamanian Administrator Jorge Quijano.
This is the Panama Canal
- The Panama Canal is approximately 80 kilometers long.
- A ship takes approximately 8 to 10 hours to transit the waterway.
- A vessel stays on average 25 hours in Panama Canal waters.
- An average of 35 - 40 vessels transit through the waterway on a daily basis.
- An average of 14,000 vessels from all over the world use the Canal every year.
- The Panama Canal serves more than 144 maritime routes connecting 160 countries and reaching some 1,700 ports in the world.
- The Panama Canal’s main customers are: United States, China, Chile and Japan and South Korea.
- The main vessels transiting the Panama Canal are the container carriers, followed by dry bulk carriers, sailboats, refrigerated tankers, vehicle carriers, general cargo carriers and passenger vessels.
- The main competition of the Panama Canal is the route through the Suez Canal and the U.S. intermodal network.
Panama Canal Expansion
- The existing locks allow the passage of vessels that can carry up to 5,000 TEUs. After the expansion the Post-Panamax vessels will be able to transit through the Canal, with up to 13,000 TEUs.
- To have an idea of the benefits of the Panama Canal, just imagine that to transport cargo of one 10,000 TEU ship by train, truck or plane, you would need the following: 18 trains, 5,800 trucks or 570 planes.
- The Panama Canal expansion is based on six years of study, which included more than 100 studies on the economic feasibility, market demand, environmental impact and other technical engineering aspects.
- The Panama Canal Expansion proposal was discussed nationwide, before being approved through a national referendum by 75% of the population.
- Works on the Panama Canal Expansion began on September, 2007 at a total cost of US$5.2 billion.
- The Panama Canal Expansion Program is fully funded by the Panama Canal Authority, with the financing of five multinational institutions for up to US$2.3 billion.
- The Expansion will double the Canal's capacity, having a direct impact on economies of scale.
- The Panama Canal Expansion will have a positive impact on the environment with the use of water-saving basins. It will require 7% less water than the existing locks and reuse 60% of the water during each transit.
- The Panama Canal is a Green Route that contributes to reducing CO2 emissions of the world maritime sector. The Expansion Program will help mitigate climate change, since bigger ships will transit through this route, reducing the global emissions of CO2, which would result if using alternate longer routes.
- The Expansion Program has created more than 30,000 direct jobs.
- The Expansion will help maximize Panama’s strategic, geographic location by enabling it to become an international maritime hub at the center of global trade.
- Panama’s connectivity has been enhanced by ports at both oceans, an air transportation hub with connections to more than 30 destinations in 20 countries of the continent, an interoceanic railroad, a telecommunications network with the latest technology, and a financial and commercial services center of international quality.