In the News from Panama

Panama Canal Debuts Green Initiative

The Panama Canal Authority is offering shippers a new tool that allows them to track their carbon emissions, giving them a chance to clearly define the best routes for reducing costs and emissions.

The Authority will rank ships based on their performance, which will be taken into consideration when they are booking transit through the Canal, industry trade paper Platts reports.

Part of an initiative by the Canal Authority to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint, shippers will provide a stream of data to the Authority, including fuel consumption, speed and type of fuel. Data will be compiled in a centralized database, which will rank shippers by their emissions each month.

“Reducing emissions is equal to reducing cost, that is the message around the world,” Alexis Rodriguez, the Authority’s environmental protection specialist, told S&P Global Platts.

The Authority is looking at several ways to help shippers improve efficiency and focus on emissions. The Canal has created an Environmental Premium Ranking and a Green Connection Award for ships moving through the Canal. To improve their rankings, shippers must demonstrate that their vessels must meet standards for energy design or use LNG fuel, according to Platts.

“The Panama Canal hopes to incentive customers to demonstrate strong environmental stewardship and adopt more sustainable itineraries,” the Authority said.

The savings of using the Canal can be dramatic, according to the Authority. A container vessel traveling from Asia to the Atlantic coast could cut 12 percent in emissions when returning through Panama instead of the Suez Canal and 18 percent compared to sailing around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, Platts reports.

1Eddie Montes is the head of Property Management for Punta Pacifica Realty, a Panama real estate agency focused on Punta Pacifica, the exclusive neighborhood of 18 towers perched on the edge of the Pacific Ocean.