Panama Drought Impacting US Pricing

May 13, 2019 | News

According to The Loadstar, the Panama Canal is suffering from a protracted drought that has decimated a lake used to control its water levels and impacted ocean freight pricing between Asia and the US East Coast. 

According to the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), the river flow to the reservoir is down 60% after almost five months of no rain, and at a cost of around $15m so far this year.

Container prices to east coast ports, which are generally serviced through the canal, have risen by as much as 15% in the past few weeks, in a trade which has already seen increases of over 20% since the turn of the year.   

The recent developments will be seen as a set back for the canal, which underwent a large scale expansion in 2016, enabling larger ships to pass through its locks and winning back significant volumes it had previously lost to other global routes.

The Panama Canal is a man made channel and the only viable shipping route that connects the Pacific Ocean on the West Coast of the American continents, with the Atlantic Ocean on the East Coast.  

For further information on the above, please speak to your local Uniserve representative or email

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