American ShipperShipping

Panama Canal dry bulk traffic up 8% in first half of 2015

The Panama Canal Authority registered more than 2,008 transits by dry bulkers, which is 257 more transits than in the previous fiscal year period.

   The Panama Canal Authority has reported an 8 percent increase in dry bulk vessels crossing the waterway from October 2014 to March 2015 for a total of 66 million long tons. 
   During this period, the Panama Canal registered more than 2,008 transits by dry bulkers, which is 257 more transits than in the previous fiscal year period. The canal authority noted that the majority of these vessels transported grains, salt, minerals, and metals.
   At 50 percent of the total tonnage, dry bulkers are the second leading vessel type transiting the canal.
   Grains shipped by dry bulkers reached a record 32.8 million tons, an increase of 8.5 percent, during the first half of the canal’s fiscal year. The United States is the main source for grain trade through the waterway, the canal authority said.
   One of the biggest grain shipments to pass through the canal was sorghum, which is used for industrial processes such as liquor and animal feed manufacturing, realizing an 85.5 percent increase compared to the same period in 2014.
   Bulk salt cargoes increased 43.2 percent to over 6.5 million long tons for the first six months of fiscal year 2015. These shipments originate primarily in Chile and Mexico’s West Coast and transit the canal for discharge at U.S. East Coast ports.
   “Countries such as Chile and Peru, who export copper and zinc, have taken advantage of the canal’s route to reach markets on the East Coast of the United States, and Europe. Exporters of iron and steel in South Korea, China and Japan alongside exporters of fertilizer from Peru and China have also utilized the Panama Canal’s reliable route,” the canal authority said.

Chris Gillis

Located in the Washington, D.C. area, Chris Gillis primarily reports on regulatory and legislative topics that impact cross-border trade. He joined American Shipper in 1994, shortly after graduating from Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Md., with a degree in international business and economics.