The Panama Canal Authority has suspended its sixth draft limitation, announced on May 3, but was never implemented. It will leave the allowed draft at 44 feet until further notice. Shallower Panama Canal drafts were expected to force some container lines to reduce the amount of cargo loaded on to vessels, especially from Asia, also pushing up spot rates on cargo from Asia. It is unclear how much was due to reduced loading capacity and how much was used by carrier representatives as justification to seek higher rates.
At the JOC Gulf Shipping Conference in Houston, CMA CGM Americas president Ludovic Renou said the restriction had not hurt the carrier’s utilization because its vessels passing through the canal to the East Coast were not fully loaded because some port harbors aren’t deep enough yet.
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