Panama battles to clear canal bottleneck

The Panama canal is struggling to control major congestion as transit times nearly double to a record 53 hours, while this week’s backlog averaged 93 vessels. Queues have eased little from their peak in March, when 119 vessels waited as long as eight days to transit the major trade artery.

Friday, April 18, 2008

That is despite a series of measures to address the backlog, which has occured during its busiest time of the year.
Ships currently face a minimum four-day wait for the 80km journey through the canal. But more alarmingly, the journey time has risen by nearly 20 hours in one month, and now takes an average of 53 hours, based on March operational figures.

More on this topic

Pilot slowdown jams Panama Canal traffic - Toronto Star

May 2008

A work slowdown by pilots who guide ships through the Panama Canal is causing unprecedented delays and creating a costly bottleneck for shipping companies, canal employees and shippers say.

Some 250 Panama Canal pilots, who take charge of all vessels while they travel between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, want a pay raise and formal work contracts, and are protesting by giving only limited help to clear gridlocks in the busy trade route.

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