The Panama Canal, a crucial maritime route, is facing persistent draft restrictions due to drought conditions. The Canal’s third set of post-Panamax locks opened in 2016 and are one of the key reasons for the growth of containership calls from Southeast Asia, Asia and the Pacific Rim to US East Coast and Gulf ports. This situation, expected to continue until at least 2028, is reshaping the global shipping landscape. At RS Express, we are committed to ensuring that our customers’ cargo remains secure and on the move, despite these challenges. 


Understanding the Situation:


Recent restrictions on the Panama Canal due to reduced water levels in Gatun Lake mean larger vessels lose significant capacity – approximately 350 TEUs for each foot of draft lost. This situation forces carriers to rethink their routing strategies and impacts shipping schedules globally. As a leading logistics provider, RS Express understands the complexities this situation presents. Our priority is to mitigate any potential delays or disruptions for our customers, ensuring that their cargo reaches its destination efficiently and securely.


RS Express’s Proactive Approach:


At RS Express, we believe in proactive communication and adaptive strategies. While we are certainly incapable of making it rain in Panama, we can suggest alternatives to unpredictable delays in transit as the Canal Authority has reduced the number of vessel slots daily and the ones which are available are being resold at a premium like they’re Eras Tour tickets


There are two immediately available alternatives for importers that solidify transit times but result in a change in cost and routing. Imports from Asia can either be terminated on the West Coast and transloaded, or containers can be moved in-bond across the country by rail. Imports from Europe, the Med and Africa can be routed to Houston with the same transloading options but with fewer rail possibilities than an east or west coast port would permit.


We are closely monitoring the situation and are in constant dialogue with carriers and port authorities to stay ahead of any changes. Our diversified approach, carrier relations and global network provides the ability to swiftly adjust routes to minimize delays and additional costs.


Securing Your Cargo with RS Express:


Security and reliability are at the heart of our operations. The current situation demands heightened vigilance in cargo management. RS Express employs state-of-the-art security measures to ensure that your cargo is not only moving but also protected throughout its journey. Our contingency plans, including diversified shipping routes and secure warehousing solutions, offer peace of mind in these uncertain times.


The Panama Canal restrictions present a complex challenge, but RS Express is committed to turning these challenges into opportunities for our customers. Through our innovative approaches, comprehensive solutions, and unwavering dedication to customer service, we ensure your cargo is secure, moving, and always within your reach. Trust RS Express to navigate these turbulent waters, keeping you informed and your cargo on course.