Panama Canal implements Green Vessel Classification System for Sustainable Shipping

Panama Flash! Panama Canal Green Vessel Classification

As part of the Panama Canal Green Route Plan 2050 and the Carbon Neutrality Commitment by the year 2030, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) announces the implementation of the Green Vessel Classification System.

For this purpose, three internationally recognized criteria have been identified:

 1) Energy Efficiency Design Index,

 2) Bow thruster (horsepower) / Arrival displacement (TSWD) ratio, and

 3) Type of fuel.

Consequently, as part of the mandatory documentation to be provided by vessels intending to transit, the ACP will require the following information effective May 1, 2023:

1. International Energy Efficiency Certificate (IEEC) and its supplement Record of Construction relating to Energy Efficiency issued by a Classification Society, indicating the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) which is divided into the energy efficiency index achieved “Attained EEDI” and the required energy efficiency index “Required EEDI”. Existing ships must be adapted to meet the IMO-mandated Energy Efficiency Index (EEXI), which is based on a reduction factor expressed as a percentage relative to the EEDI reference level. This information shall be provided through the Maritime Single Window Application (VUMPA, for its acronym in Spanish) and will be verified by the ACP Boarding Officer.

2. Bow thruster (horsepower) / Arrival displacement (TSWD) ratio: This element contributes to the maneuverability of the vessel during the lockage, reducing the emissions from the Canal tugs. A certification from the engine officer indicating the number of operational bow thrusters and their corresponding horsepower available for transit shall be submitted to the ACP. This information shall be submitted prior to the vessel’s first (maiden) transit, and the operational status confirmed for each transit thereafter. This information will be verified by the ACP Boarding Officer.

3. Fuel declaration: In order to validate the use of zero carbon fuels the customer must submit the bunker delivery note (BDN) of the fuel that will be used during transit. This information shall be provided through VUMPA and will be verified by the ACP Boarding Officer.

This information will be used to create a database that will allow the Panama Canal to assess the technical, environmental, and technological characteristics of transiting vessels. Additionally, it will allow the Panama Canal to identify if there are tendencies or trends in the use of certain of types of technologies related to maneuverability and efficiency that could impact the operation and concentration of ships at the proposed levels in the actual Green Connection Environmental Recognition Program. The above-mentioned information shall be provided by all vessels over 38.1 m (125 feet), prior to transit. Warships, dead tows, small craft, and other vessels with less than 1,000 PC/UMS tons or 1,000 tons of displacement are excluded from this requirement.

This initiative is part of the Panama Canal’s ongoing commitment to protect the environment and contribute with the international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For additional information regarding this initiative, please contact us at or


Norton Lilly International (Panama) S.A.

Bldg. 3825  – Office 204

Howard – Panama-Pacifico

Panama, Rep. of Panama

Tel: (507) 304-4600

Main email:  (24 hours)


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