LNG carrier marks Panama Canal milestone

The expanded Panama Canal welcomed the 10,000th Neopanamax vessel on Monday, marking a new milestone for the nearly 106-year-old waterway and its growing LNG segment.

The 180,000-cbm LNG carrier SK Resolute marked the milestone travelling southbound from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.

This marked the Total-chartered vessel’s thirteenth transit through the waterway as it transports the fuel from Cheniere’s Sabine Pass terminal in the US.

It travels between the US east coast to South Korea and Japan, as well as from Chile and back, Panama Canal said.

Constructed in 2018, the vessel measures 292 meters in length and 47.8 meters in beam.

A joint venture consisting of Japan’s Marubeni and Soutk Korea’s SK Shipping owns the LNG carrier.

“The two historic milestones this week – our 10,000th Neopanamax transit and 106th anniversary – are symbolic,” said Panama Canal Administrator Ricaurte Vasquez.

“Together, they reiterate that the Panama Canal is not only a trusted and reliable service, but also one committed to continued competitiveness and growth,” he said.

LNG carriers started transiting the waterway for the first time following the inauguration of the expanded canal in 2016.

With significant reductions in voyage time, it has since offered a highly competitive route for US gas deliveries to major Asian importers.

As a result, the expanded canal’s LNG segment now represents 12 percent of transits, surpassed only by containerships with 46 percent and LPG with 25 percent.

This also led the Neopanamax Locks to see 27 percent of transits and half of total tonnage at the canal today.

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