Maersk will stop sailing through the Panama Canal

Isbel Lázaro.

Maersk en el Canal de Panamá

Maersk has announced that ships on its OC1 service, which runs between Oceania and America, will stop using the Panama Canal . Instead, the company will opt for a “land bridge” to move cargo between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Maersk’s decision

This decision was made due to current and projected water levels in the Panama Canal, which has led the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) to reduce both the number and weight of ships transiting the canal.

While we continue to work closely with the ACP, moderating and aligning our operations to adapt to the changes, we have made changes to services to ensure that our customers are affected as little as possible ,” Maersk stressed.

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In this context, the company indicated that “Ships that previously used the Panama Canal will now bypass the Panama Canal and use a ‘land bridge’ that uses rail to transport cargo across the 80 kilometers of Panama to the other side. This creates two separate circuits, one in the Atlantic and one in the Pacific”.

The Pacific ships will stop at Balboa, Panama, to drop off cargo bound for Latin America and North America and pick up cargo bound for Australia and New Zealand. Atlantic vessels will turn in Manzanillo, Panama, to drop off cargo bound for Australia and New Zealand and pick up cargo bound for Latin America and North America”he added.

Given possible effects on cargo movement, the AP Moller Maersk Group entity indicated in a note addressed to its clients the following:

We understand that any delays to your freight movements may impact your overall supply chain and we are doing everything we can to ensure that any delays are as minimal as possible. We understand your need for more information to plan your future moves accordingly.”.

The Danish company indicated that ships heading north will not experience delays at cargo calls in Philadelphia and Charleston, but those heading south could face complications. Additionally, ships following the OC1 route will not include Cartagena, Colombia, so the company informed customers with cargo at that point that it will be served by “alternative vessels.”

We remain committed to meeting your supply chain needs and will continue to operate PANZ service from the West Coast of the United States to Oceania to provide coverage from both coasts. Additionally, we will connect ports in the Gulf to OC1 service similar to how we do today“added the entity.

We are working diligently to minimize any impact on your supply chain and remain in close contact with the Panama Canal Authority to ensure we can provide you with timely updates ,” Maersk concluded.

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