Panama Canal Extends Covid-19 Relief

The Panama Canal Authority has extended relief offered to shipping lines to help alleviate some of the problems associated with the global pandemic until the end of the year.

The extension of the temporary relief, first introduced in May, results from the ongoing dialogue between the Canal and industry leaders on how to navigate the industry’s way through the economic and social fallout associated with Covid-19.

“Despite the challenges faced earlier this year, I am confident we will see a steady recovery going into our 2021 Fiscal Year for both the Canal and its customers,” said Panama Canal administrator Ricaurte Vásquez Morales.

Originally set to run until 1 September, the relief measures include the suspension of advance payments for transit reservation fees and other changes to the waterway’s reservation system.

Together, they allow customers to maintain higher liquidity and increased flexibility allowing lines to swap or substitute booking slots among different vessels in their fleets.

“I am encouraged by the growth we are seeing for the container segment, though we are tracking changes in global trade flows vigilantly,” said deputy administrator, Ilya Espino de Marotta. “The extension of these measures underscores our commitment first and foremost to our customers.”

The number of vessels transiting the Panama Canal climbed from 845 in June to 933 in July, and August is showing a similar trend, said the canal with the increase largely driven by a surge in containership transits along the all-water route between Asia and ports on the US East Coast.

Rainbow Blue Nelson
Americas Correspondent

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