Maersk resumes container line service through Panama Canal

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Maersk resumes container line service through Panama Canal

AP Moller-Maersk said it will resume its north-south service through the Panama Canal after its suspension in January due to low water levels and reduced transits.

The OC1 service, resuming May 10, runs between the U.S. East Coast, specifically Philadelphia and Charleston ports, Australia and New Zealand.

When the service was paused in January, as a result of drought conditions, Maersk decided to split it into an Atlantic and Pacific loop combined with a land bridge in Panama with a rail connection.

This set-up will be dropped and the service will revert to its single former rotation, operating with 11 ships of between 3,100 TEU and 3,800 TEU, according to Alphaliner.

On March 11, the Panama Canal Authority announced they would increase daily transits that month from 24 to 27 ships, in response to the current and projected level of Lake Gatun, which feeds the canal. 

The authority said the measure allows most vessels wishing to transit the canal to request a reservation.

According to Clarksons Research, the average wait time at a defined Panama Canal anchorage in the first quarter of this year was 23 hours, up from the 16-hour average in 2022, but still down from the 36-hour average in December last year.

Transit restrictions have not been as severe as originally planned, with liner solutions mitigating some of the impacts, such as using the land bridge utilizing the rail connection across Panama.

Related articles:

Agronometrics in Charts: Drought in the Panama Canal disrupting international trade

Maersk closing north-south transits through Panama Canal

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