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  • 2018 January 23 14:23

    President Varela from Panama visits the port of Rotterdam

    The Panamanian President Varela is to visit the port of Rotterdam on Monday, 22 January. Hosts are Allard Castelein, Port of Rotterdam Authority CEO, and Ahmed Aboutaleb, Mayor of Rotterdam, port of Rotterdam said in its press release.

    The 81-km-long Panama Canal connects the Caribbean Sea with the Pacific Ocean. It is an important route in intercontinental transport, as vessels would otherwise have to sail around South America. A vessel sailing from New York to San Francisco via the canal covers a distance of 9,500 kilometres. This is less than half of the 22,500 kilometres via Cape Horn. On 15 August 1914, American steam ship Ancon was the first vessel to travel through the canal.

    The Panamax is a term for the maximum dimensions of a vessel travelling through the old Panama Canal locks. New, larger locks opened to shipping traffic in 2016. Vessels that can pass through these locks are called Neopanamax or New Panamax vessels. A vessel that is too large for the new locks as well is called a Post-Panamax vessel. Container ships with a capacity of 5,000 TEU can pass through the old locks. The new locks are suitable for vessels up to some 13,000 TEU.

    Panamax (maximum dimensions of a vessel for the old Panama Canal locks):
     Length: 294.1 m (965 feet)
     Beam: 32.3 m (106 feet)
     Draught: 12 m (39.5 feet) in tropical freshwater (draught depends on salt content and water temperature)
     Height: 57.9 m (190 feet) above the waterline in tropical freshwater

    Neopanamax (maximum dimensions of a vessel for the new Panama Canal locks):
     Length: 366 m (1201 feet)
     Beam: 49 m (161 feet)
     Draught: 15.2 m (50 feet)
     Height: 57.9 m (190 feet) above the waterline
    Container Ship Cosco Shipping Panama

    On 10 June 2016, a 250-metre-long tanker, the Baroque, undertook a test sail assisted by tug through the new Panama Canal locks. Around two weeks later the Chinese Container Ship Cosco Shipping Panama was the first to pass through the new canal. Vessels that can fit through the new canal have a joint capacity worth 79 percent of global freight capacity. This capacity was only 45 percent for the old locks. For container ships, the proportions are 37 percent in the old and 85 percent in the new situation.

    Panamanian flag
    Panama’s prestige in shipping is of course also due to its flag. It was one of the first countries to devise an attractive tax construction for ship owners. These days there are many more cheap flags of convenience. Vessels register their flag in the ship register of such a country to reduce costs - low tonnage taxes and registration fees - or to circumvent government regulations in their own country. Last year 1,053 of the 29,600 sea-going vessels arriving in Rotterdam carried the Panamanian flag.

    port of Rotterdam



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