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Panama Canal Authority Releases Fiscal Year 2008 Fourth Quarter Metrics

Date: 12-NOV-2008

PANAMA CITY, Panama, November 12, 2008 - The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) released fourth quarter (Q4) operational metrics for fiscal year (FY) 2008. These metrics are based on operations from July through September 2008, the fourth quarter of the ACP's 2008 fiscal year and are compared with Q4 of FY 2007. In Q4 of FY 2008, tonnage decreased minimally, but tanker and passenger transits and tonnage jumped significantly.

During Q4 of FY 2008, Canal Waters Time (CWT), the average time it takes a vessel to transit the Canal (including waiting time for passage), decreased nearly 10 percent to 26.73 hours from 29.61 hours in Q4 of FY 2007. CWT for booked vessels (those ships holding reservations) also dropped from 17.63 hours in Q4 of FY 2007 to 17.56 hours. Steady operating efficiency accounted for the reduced CWT this quarter.

While total Canal transits increased 0.6 percent during Q4 of FY 2008, from 3,374 to 3,393 transits, booked transits (excluding auctioned slots) rose 8.5 percent, from 1,884 to 2,044 transits. Panama Canal/Universal Measurement System (PC/UMS) tonnage dropped slightly by 0.4 percent, from 75.4 million PC/UMS tons in Q4 of FY 2007 to 75.1 million PC/UMS tons.

Additionally, when comparing Q4 of FY 2008 and Q4 of FY 2007, tanker transits rose 11.6 percent, from 475 to 530 transits, while passenger transits increased 25 percent. Similarly, tanker tonnage rose 18.4 percent, from 9.7 million to 11.5 million PC/UMS tons, and passenger tonnage increased 4.2 percent. Vehicle carriers decreased 6.2 percent in transits and 5.2 percent in tonnage, while dry bulk gained 2 percent in transits and 4.9 percent in tonnage.

 "Though total transits and tonnage varied minimally this quarter, the Panama Canal experienced definite growth in other specific areas. Both passenger and tanker transits and tonnage are up considerably," said ACP Executive Vice President of Operations Manuel Benítez. "This quarter's decrease in CWT also indicates positive progress and reflects the ACP's concerted effort to maintain optimal efficiency rates."

The accident rate during Q4 of FY 2008 was 0.29 accidents per 1000 transits, down from 0.89 accidents per 1,000 transits during Q4 of FY 2007. An official accident is one in which a formal investigation is requested and conducted.

ABOUT THE PANAMA CANAL AUTORITY
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: http://www.pancanal.com/


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