Panama Canal gradually returning to normalcy

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The recent increase in water levels in the Panama Canal has allowed for an uptick in the number of ships transiting daily, raising from 24 to 31. This adjustment primarily benefits ships using the smaller panamax locks, with a further slot for larger Neopanamax vessels planned from June 1, totaling 32 daily transits. Additionally, draft limits for Neopanamax vessels are set to increase from 44 to 45 feet on June 15, approaching the normal limit of 50 feet. Despite these improvements, experts like Peter Sand from Xeneta caution that the road to full operational normalcy will be gradual and dependent on ongoing factors like rainfall. The extended impact of the drought has disrupted scheduling reliability and influenced spot rates, pointing to a slow recovery process for container shipping through the canal.

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