Floating traffic jam at drought-hit Panama Canal
August 22, 2023 - A massive flotilla of ships is currently stuck in the world’s worst traffic jam at the Panama Canal – and the end of this new watery pile-up could be at least a few weeks away.
The Panama Canal Authority has reduced maximum ship weights and daily ship crossings in a bid to conserve water. Maritime transportation experts fear such events could become the new normal as rainfall deficits in the world's fifth-wettest country spotlight climate risks affecting the ocean shipping industry that moves 80% of global trade.
Ship owners have the options of carrying less cargo, shifting to alternate routes that can add thousands of miles to the trip or grappling with queues that earlier this month backed up 160 vessels and delayed some ships by as much as 21 days, Reuters said.