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By offering a shorter route for ships, the Panama Canal Authority claims to have contributed to a reduction of more than 13 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent emissions in 2020.

According to the Authority, container ships accounted for a saving of 4.2 million tonnes of total CO2 emissions. Dry bulk carriers, chemical tankers and LPG carriers saved 2.44 million, 1.63 million and 1 million tonnes of annual CO2 emissions, respectively.

The other vessels segments were crude product tankers (785,700 tonnes) and LNG carriers (712,691 tonnes).

In terms of route patterns, vessels passing through the Panama Canal on Asia-US East Coast trade saved 3 million tonnes of CO2 emissions. US East Coast-West Coast of South America, and US East Coast-West Coast of Central America trade routes saved 1.5 million and 1.3 million tonnes, respectively.

US West Coast-US East Coast (934,511 tonnes) and West Coast of South America-Europe (928,460 tonnes) were the other trade routes to contribute to the CO2 emissions reduction.

The Panama Canal has also announced the launch of a CO2 Emissions Dashboard, through which it will publish monthly data on the CO2 emissions saved by vessels that choose to transit the Panama Canal over the most likely alternative route. The dashboard will allow users to compare CO2 emissions reductions by route, segment and customer, with data updated each month. The dashboard currently has the overall 2020 data but will begin reporting the monthly figures in February.

‘The Panama Canal has long looked for ways to provide greater value to customers beyond serving as a shortcut, with environmental benefits at the forefront of that effort,’ said Panama Canal Administrator Ricaurte Vásquez Morales.

‘Our goal is to help customers create more sustainable supply chains. By publishing this data each month, we aim to be more transparent about how the Panama route helps shippers reduce emissions with each transit and track our own growth as a green route for global maritime trade.’

The data will be sourced using the waterway’s Emissions Calculator, which allows shippers to measure their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions per route, including the amount saved by taking the Panama Canal over other routes. Now using georeferenced data and technology already aboard vessels, the Emissions Calculator takes various factors into consideration – such as vessel type, speed, route, size, capacity, type of fuel, and fuel consumption – to provide the most accurate measurements.

Rhys Berry

Rhys Berry