Low-water restrictions at Panama Canal

Sep 26, 2023

Due to the impact of the El Niño phenomenon, the Panama Pacific coast region has experienced a decrease in precipitation and an increase in temperature since this spring. This has resulted in the decrease of water levels in rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. The prolonged drought has led to a serious water shortage in the Panama Canal. In late July, the Panama Canal Authority (PCA) implemented water conservation measures by reducing the number of vessels allowed to pass through and imposing restrictions on booking time slots from August 8th to August 21st. Additionally, vessels were required to reduce their weight by 40% due to the low water levels. As of August 9th, it was reported that there were 154 vessels waiting to transit the Panama Canal, and the congestion is still worsening. The average transit time through Panama Canal has reached 21 days.

Recent data from reports on shipments indicate that the delay for vessels carrying methanol from Trinidad and Tobago passing through the Panama Canal has increased from 1.5 days to around 4 days (as of July 23rd). According to available data, the total methanol cargoes of Trinidad and Tobago origin, that have arrived at China and been unloaded or are to be unloaded, reach 96kt in Aug, down 159kt from Jul.

The continuous high prices of PX-naphtha spread this year are related to the weakness of naphtha and constantly high PTA O/R
Shutdowns of methanol plants in Trinidad and Tobago

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