Panama Canal continues to disrupt global trade - CILT(UK)
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LATEST NEWS

Panama Canal continues to disrupt global trade

13 December 2023/Categories: CILT, Industry News, Freight Forwarding, Logistics & Supply Chain, Ports, Maritime & Waterways, Institute News


Sue Terpilowski OBE, CILT’s Public Policy Chair (PPC) appeared on BBC Radio 4’s ‘World At One’ show discussing the current challenges faced for shipping imports in the Panama Canal.

The Panama Canal is a significant cog in the maritime trade industry, providing a route between the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. Climate change is having an unprecedented effect on the canal as a current draught has resulted in shipping delays causing a pattern of supply chain issues.

On BBC Radio 4, Sue Terpilowski said: “This issue has been going on since the summer, and it is progressively getting worse as we are in what should be the rainy season, and it is not raining.”

It is predicted by February, the number of ships going through the canal will be down to 18, as opposed to over 30 that usually travel through at the same time.

When asked about the canal authority’s operating system Sue said: “They are trying to manage the situation as best they can and also improve communications to warn people this could continue into 2024.”

The canal has suffered from droughts before but this time it is being described as the most severe it has ever had.

Shipping lines are now rerouting and working their way around the system because of high prices.

Gerry Power, TMX Transform’s UK Head of Country says climate events are shaping the world’s supply chains.

“Shipping companies now have a decision to make – persist with the canal at higher costs and reduced loading or find alternate routes which are slower and more expensive.

“If this problem persists, businesses will be forced to assess the repositioning of supply, manufacturing and customers.

“Climate events like this are becoming more and more common. Rising sea levels threaten to inundate ports and coastal infrastructure, while the world’s economy is having to adjust to supply chain disruptions caused by hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and other forms of extreme weather,” he said.

 

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