The Panama Canal made history this week when four massive LNG Neopanamax tankers traveled through the Canal in one day, a new record for Panama.
The milestone is another indication of the growing role of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry in Panama, which has become the major transit point for LNG for the United States. LNG is also playing an important role in the energy future of the region, and its growth will be yet another driver of Panama’s growing economy, economists predict.
The transit of four LNG Neopanamax tankers reflects a change in the rules, announced in August, which allows more tankers to go through the Canal in a single day. The change, which went into effect on Monday, was the result of the increasing demand, as the United States ramps up LNG production.
The new rules allow night trips of LNG ships in the expanded locks, as well as the ships headed in different directions to cross encounters in Lake Gatún.
The four ships that went through the Canal on Oct. 1 were connecting South Korea, Japan, Chile with the Gulf of Mexico, in the United States.
“The transit of these four LNG ships in a single day demonstrates the commitment of the Panama Canal to serve the industry with the highest standards of safety, efficiency and reliability,” Panama Canal Authority administrator Jorge Luis Quijano said in a statement.