The waterway’s expansion enabled a 9.5 percent increase in tonnage.
The canal surpassed the cargo projections of 429.4 million PC/UMS tons for FY 2018, as well as the 403.8 million PC/UMS tons registered in FY 2017.
Jorge L. Quijano, the Panama Canal administrator, said the record tonnage reinforces “the importance of the waterway’s expansion and its impact on global maritime trade.”
The increase was driven by the transit of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers, containerships, chemical tankers and vehicle carriers, according to the Panama Canal Authority (ACP).
The container segment continued to serve as the leading market segment for tonnage through the canal, accounting for 159 million PC/UMS tons of the total cargo, of which 112.6 million PC/UMS tons transited the expanded canal, ACP said.
Tankers, which include LPG and LNG carriers, represented 130.3 million PC/UMS tons. The next leading segments were bulk carriers at 73.7 million PC/UMS tons and vehicle carriers at 49.5 million PC/UMS tons.
The main routes using the Panama Canal in FY 2018 were between Asia and the U.S. East Coast, the West Coast of South America and the U.S. East Coast, the West Coast of South America and Europe, the West Coast of Central America and the U.S. East Coast and intercoastal South America, ACP said.
A total of 62.8 percent of the cargo transiting the canal had its origin or destination in the United States.