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Panama Canal Authority Releases Fiscal Year 2007 First Quarter Metrics

Date: 28-FEB-2007

UP; ACCIDENTS DOWN

PANAMA CITY, Panama, February 28, 2007 – The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) released first quarter (Q1) operational metrics today for fiscal year 2007. In Q1, there was an increase in net tonnage, total transits and transits of supers (vessels 91 feet or more in beam). No official accidents occurred this quarter. Canal Waters Time (CWT), the average time it takes a vessel to transit the Canal including waiting time for passage, increased, as well as booking slot utilization. These metrics are based on operations from October through December of 2006, the first quarter of the ACP's 2007 fiscal year, and compared to Q1 of fiscal year 2006.

Panama Canal/Universal Measurement System (PC/UMS) tonnage increased 11.7 percent – to 79.9 million PC/UMS tons from 71.5 million PC/UMS tons. In addition to a spike in tonnage, the Canal experienced an increase in traffic. Total Canal transits increased eight percent – to 3,568 transits from 3,299. Moreover, transits of supers, larger ships that require greater time and navigation skills to transit the Canal, increased 14.6 percent – to 1,968 transits from 1,718.

“These metrics illustrate that demand for the Canal is steadily increasing, particularly among tankers, container vessels, vehicle carriers and refrigerated cargo,” said ACP’s Acting Director of Maritime Operations Captain Arcelio Hartley. “It is clear that the value of the Panama Canal increases as demand rises, services improve and investment continues.”

There were no official accidents in Q1, while there was one accident in Q1 fiscal year 2006. An official accident is one in which a formal investigation is requested and conducted.

Overall CWT increased 45.7 percent – to 29.97 hours from 20.57 hours. The rise in CWT can be attributed to the increased demand, the mix in size of vessels that transit the waterway and the fact that this fiscal year there were 11 days of work on the center culvert at Gatún Locks, which reduced capacity during that time. Additionally, the passenger vessels season which runs each year from October to May, was also at its peak during Q1. CWT for booked vessels (those ships holding reservations) increased by 10.8 percent – from 15.51 hours to 17.20 hours.

Utilization of the booking system increased seven percent – to 95 percent utilization from 88.8 percent. The ACP continues to modify its booking system to respond to new trends. To accommodate its customers, as well as to manage the increase in demand, the ACP temporarily added an additional slot to transit an influx of smaller vessels.

ABOUT THE PANAMA CANAL AUTHORITY (ACP)

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