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Panama Canal Adjusts Reservation System

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By The Maritime Executive 04-29-2020 06:33:46

The Panama Canal has announced a temporary adjustment to its reservation system, a move that it says will provide customers with added flexibility and relief during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Effective May 4, 2020, the waterway will implement temporary changes to the requirements for the placement of booking guarantees and advance payment of reservation fees when the reservation is confirmed. Customers will be allowed to place the guarantee for the payment of the booking slot prior to the vessel initiating transit. 

The measure will be in place for 120 days, lifting on September 1, 2020. It comes as the result of discussion between the Canal’s leadership team and industry leaders.

In January, the Panama Canal began implementing health measures in response to the pandemic. In March, the waterway instituted heightened procedures, including a reduction of on-site staff to only those essential for transit operations and mandating their compliance with protocols set forth by the Panamanian health authorities. 

The waterway will continue to operate normally, with all the staff needed to maintain transit operations.