The Panama Canal, which has historically been one of the key drivers for the Panama economy, set a record for tonnage in the recently concluded fiscal year. In total, the Canal handled ships with 442.1 million “Panama Canal tons” (PC/UMS), a 9.5 percent increase from the previous year, Canal officials announced.
The results, which surpassed forecasts, was driven by container ship traffic, which accounted for 159 million PC/UMS tons of the total cargo, including 112.6 million PC/UMS tons which went through the expanded Canal, a further indication that the investment in the Canal is paying off. The second biggest type of ship moving through the Canal were the huge liquefied natural gas tankers, with 130.3 million PC/UMS tons, according to The Maritime Executive.
“The main routes using the Panama Canal in FY 2018 were between Asia and the U.S. East Coast, the West Coast of South America and the U.S. East Coast, the West Coast of South America and Europe, the West Coast of Central America and the U.S. East Coast and intercoastal South America,” the publication reports.
Although China, Mexico, Chile, and Japan were big users of the Canal, the U.S. accounted for 62.8 percent of the total cargo moving through the Canal in the fiscal year.
The growth of Canal benefits Panama–and the property sector–in many ways. For one, revenue generated by the Canal provide a cash flow to the government, which helps fund infrastructure and growth projects. The traffic also encourages the development of more corporate headquarters and facilities in Panama City, which provides a steady stream of new renters and buyers.
Here is a video announcing the report year released by the Panama Canal Authority: