This article is taken from the Dec. 28 USDA Grain Transportation Report


Beginning January 16, 2024, the Panama Canal Authority (PCA) will increase its number of daily vessel transits to 24.

Citing greater than expected rainfall in November and the success of PCA’s “water-saving measures,” PCA canceled its previous plans to reduce daily transits to only 18 vessel transits per day by February 1, 2024.

Currently, PCA allows 22 transits per day. During a normal year, the maximum sustainable number of transits per day is 38 to 40.

Although the Panama Canal restrictions have impacted all vessel types, bulk vessels carrying grain are some of the most affected. Other vessel types (e.g., cruise ships, container vessels, LNG tankers) are generally more successful than bulk vessels at obtaining transit slots, because the other vessels can pay higher tolls and provide more precise arrival times.