9 November 2017
Panama Canal, Panama

New annual cargo tonnage record in Fiscal Year 2017

Following the close of Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17), the Panama Canal announced that the waterway welcomed a record 403.8 million Panama Canal tons (PC/UMS) of cargo, the largest amount of annual tonnage ever transited in the 103-year history.

According to figures, the Panama Canal transited a total of 13,548 vessels during Fiscal Year 2017, representing a 3.3% increase compared to the previous year. Due to the larger Neopanamax vessels now able to transit the Expanded Canal, the growth in traffic translated into a 22.2% increase in total annual tonnage from Fiscal Year 2016, allowing the Panama Canal to surpass the already ambitious cargo projection of 399 million PC/UMS…

…The record-breaking FY17 results include many important milestones for the Panama Canal. Less than six months after the inauguration of the Expanded Canal, the waterway welcomed the YM Unity containership, its 500th Neopanamax vessel transit, while in March 2017, Mediterranean Shipping Company's MSC Anzu became the 1,000th Neopanamax vessel to transit the Canal. The September 2017 transit of the COSCO Yantian containership marked 2,000 Neopanamax transits, including the Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Wonder, the first Neopanamax cruise vessel to transit.

After setting similar records in December 2016, and May 2017, in August 2017, the Neopanamax containership CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt became the largest ship to transit the Canal, measuring 365.96 meters in length and 48.252 meters in beam with a total TEU allowance (TTA) of 14,863…

…In September 2017, the Canal launched Panama’s Maritime Single Window (VUMPA), with other Panamanian Government offices, to streamline logistics paperwork for international customers. To uphold sustainability efforts, in October 2016, the Canal created the Environmental Premium Ranking to reward qualified customers who meet high environmental efficiency standards with the opportunity to improve their position within the Customer Ranking System, which is taken into account when booking transits through the Canal. The Panama Canal also instituted modifications to the toll structure in response to a series of discussions with customers and a review of changing cargo patterns.

The Panama Canal currently serves 29 major liner services, including 15 Neopanamax liner services, primarily on the U.S. East Coast to Asia trade route.

(For information about operations in the Panama Canal, contact GAC-Wilford & McKay at

Source: Extract from the Panama Canal Authority Monthly Canal Operations Summary – October 2017

Back to Archive