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Panama Canal Continues to Set New Records - Increased Transits at the Waterway in May 2005

Date: 14-JUN-2005

PANAMA CITY, Panama, June 14, 2005 - The trend of larger ships using the Panama Canal is increasing, as evidenced by the record set recently in May 2005 of 120 transits made by vessels 900 feet or more in length overall. Of these 120 transits, 117 were made by full container vessels and three were made by cruise ships. The record breaks the previous mark achieved in January 2005 of 114 transits of these types of vessels. Canal Waters Time (CWT), the average time it takes a vessel to transit the Canal, including waiting time for passage, did not increase, despite the volume of transits and larger vessels handled.
 
"We are pleased that we are able to meet demand at the Canal, while - at the same time - break records and set new standards," said Jorge Quijano, Maritime Operations Director. "This record is no small feat for the Panama Canal Authority (ACP). To move this amount of large ships through the Canal and maintain a good CWT is remarkable - our world-class workforce makes full use of our investments in new equipment, technology and improvements to our infrastructure to make things happen here at the waterway."

Container trade through the Panama Canal continues to grow. Panama Canal/Universal Measurement System (PC/UMS) tonnage has increased 5.2 percent over last year, for the period of October through May. In addition, the use of Panamax size vessels has increased 6.4 percent - or 230 more Panamax vessel transits - over the same period. More than 90 percent of these vessels book their transits through the Canal's reservation system, which helps achieve a transit with a CWT of less than 17 hours on the intended day of transit (without a reservation, CWT averages approximately 35.6 hours).

About the Panama Canal Authority
The Panama Canal Authority is the autonomous agency of the Government of Panama in charge of managing, operating and maintaining the Panama Canal.  The operation of the Panama Canal Authority is based on its organic law and the regulations approved by its Board of Directors.  For more information, please refer to the Panama Canal Authority's Web site: www.pancanal.com.

The Authority's responsibility to the Panamanian people is paramount. The Canal belongs to the people and benefits from the Canal should accrue to as many Panamanians as possible.  The Authority will plan its future so that it will continually contribute to the economic development and welfare of the citizens of Panama.


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