Shippers are paying as much as $2.4 million per vessel to bypass the congestion in the drought-affected Panama Canal, in addition to the standard transit fee of around $400,000. This extraordinary payment was recently made by an unnamed party to expedite its vessel’s passage through the canal, according to Avance Gas Holding Ltd. The Panama Canal Authority conducts auctions for priority passage, with the highest bids usually coming from carriers transporting liquefied petroleum gas or liquefied natural gas (LNG). The queue of ships waiting to use the canal has grown due to drought conditions, resulting in fewer vessels with reduced cargo capacity transiting the canal. Despite the high cost, some shippers opt to pay to skip the queue.