Ship Agent in Panama Canal Transit coordination

Reduction in Transits Due to the Ongoing Deficit in Precipitation in the Canal Watershed

PANAMA FLASH! – Panama City – October 30th, 2023

Since the beginning of the 2023 dry season, the Panama Canal adopted several water saving and conservation measures in the transit operation, including the use of water saving basins in the Neopanamax Locks and cross-filling in the Panamax Locks. In addition, the late arrival of this year’s rainy season, and lack of precipitation in the Canal watershed has obliged the Canal to reduce the transit capacity to approximately 32 vessels per day since July 30, 2023, while managing the available rainfall over the watershed to maintain Gatun Lake at a level that would offer a competitive draft for our clients. On September 29, 2023, the Canal announced an additional reduction in capacity, effective November 1, 2023.

Despite all measures taken, the level of Gatun Lake has continued to decline to unprecedented levels for this time of year. The recorded precipitation for October has been the lowest on record since 1950 (41% below), and so far, 2023 ranks as the second driest year for the same period. Based on the rainfall projections for the following weeks, which as of today is expected to be 38% less for the rest of the year, the ACP finds it necessary to further reduce the daily transit capacity to postpone the need for additional draft reductions below the current 13.41m (44 feet) TFW. Therefore, from November 3, 2023, to November 6, 2023, the number of booking slots will be reduced to 25, and from November 7 to November 30, 2023, the number of booking slots will be reduced to 24.

In addition, from December 1 to December 31, 2023, the number of booking slots will further be reduced to 22, and from January 1, 2024, to January 31, 2024, the number of booking slots will be reduced to 20.

For booking dates beginning February 1, 2024, and until further notice, the number of booking slots will be reduced to 18 per day.

The number of booking slots and distribution of slots per booking period for each vessel category for the above-mentioned conditions is presented in the following tables.

For booking dates November 3 to 7, 2023, the following booking slots will be offered:

For booking dates November 8 to 14, 2023:

For booking dates from November 15 to November 30, 2023:

For booking dates from December 1 to December 31, 2023:

For booking dates from January 1 to January 31, 2024:

For booking dates from February 1, 2024, until further notice:

The number of slots is based on the present and projected level of Gatun Lake for the following weeks. Further adjustments in the daily number of transits will be announced depending on the rainfall in the Canal watershed and level of Gatun Lake.

As indicated in previous advisories, the ACP strongly encourages vessels to make use of the Transit Reservation system in order to guarantee a transit date and to reduce the possibility of extensive delays.

For additional information, please reach out to our operators at

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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