Panama Canal Administrator Aims for Traffic to Normalize by February 2025

Panama Canal Administrator Aims for Traffic to Normalize by February 2025

The Panama Canal traffic is anticipated to return to normal by February 2025, announced the canal administrator after facing challenges due to record-low water levels that restricted ship transit.

Authorities have had to restrict vessel traffic through the canal since last year, affecting approximately six percent of global maritime trade that passes through the waterway.

Relying solely on rainwater for operation, the canal has been adversely impacted by climate change and the El Nino weather phenomenon.

“We are optimistic that the situation will stabilize before February 2025,” stated administrator Ricaurte Vasquez during a press briefing in Panama City.

Vasquez highlighted the expected transition from El Nino to La Nina weather pattern, which is projected to bring increased rainfall to Central America.

Anticipated moderate La Nina conditions are forecasted to commence around April, with potential intensity growth in July and August, offering hope for improved water levels in the canal.

Despite the positive outlook, Vasquez noted that immediate changes in traffic volume are unlikely as the shipping industry requires time to adapt.

The Panama Canal, a vital global trade link inaugurated in 1914, relies on freshwater from Gatun and Alhajuela lakes to facilitate ship movement through its lock system.

Significant rainfall deficits in 2023 in the canal watershed have compounded challenges, making it the second-driest year on record.