Cruise ahips are missing from canal
The Panama Canal, a major contributor to the Panama economy is already feeling the effects of the covid pandemic with a subsantional drop in the transit of ships in April and May says the authority’s administrator Ricaurte Vásquez,
"We are beginning to feel the impact of the situation on traffic," said Vásquez in a virtual conference organized by La Prensa on Friday, May 29.
In April 1,022 vessels transited the inter-ocean waterway, 169 less than expected.
In May the number of ships passing through the Canal fell to 925.
The market segments most affected, the was that of cruise passengers," said Vásquez, indicating that they have had 45 fewer cruises compared to 2019.
Other affected segments are vehicle carriers and also gas transportation due to the fall in prices and demand.
"I do not believe that the fundamental economic conditions that existed have changed, but that the pandemic has accelerated the adjustments that had to be made in the area of trade," said Vásquez
He explained that it is important for the Panama Canal to try to meet the budget goal. "We have done exercises that can give up to $700 million less but everything will depend on how the traffic behaves."
Virus control measures
On measures that to avoid the spread of the virus in the entity, Vásquez said that they are working with 6,400 people on the route, and other staff are teleworking.
Shifts have been changed and we have made rotations longer to reduce the risk to Canal personnel. ”
Likewise, he stressed that a series of modifications will be made to place physical barriers and seek physical distance in the canal areas. Additionally, in June it will begin to operate with a new protocol of the new normality, and all contracts of workers and suppliers will be respected.