Drought leads the Panama Canal to im­pose lim­its on the size of car­goes

The China Post - - BUSINESS -

The Panama Canal will tem­po­rar­ily limit the cargo size of ships us­ing the wa­ter­way due to a drought caused by the El Nino weather phe­nom­e­non, author­i­ties said Fri­day.

The Panama Canal

Au­thor­ity said the max­i­mum ship draft will be cut to 11.89 me­ters from Sept. 8, af­fect­ing 18.5 per­cent of ves­sels that nor­mally transit the link be­tween the At­lantic and Pa­cific oceans.

A ship’s draft is its depth in the wa­ter, and changes as the ves­sel be­comes heav­ier or lighter.

The canal au­thor­ity said fur­ther re­stric­tions could be im­posed on Septem­ber 16 if weather condi- tions do not change. The max­i­mum draft of ves­sels would be cut to 11.73 me­ters.

Canal ad­min­is­tra­tor Jorge Qui­jano said the month of June and the first half of July were the dri­est pe­riod in 102 years.

As a re­sult, wa­ter lev­els in the lakes that feed the canal have dropped. The canal’s locks can usu­ally ac­com­mo­date ships with a draft of up to 12 me­ters.

AP

A cargo ship’s draft marks show as it nav­i­gates the Panama Canal wa­ters in Gam­boa, Panama, Satur­day, Aug. 8.

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