Global shipping under threat as congestion hits the Panama Canal


The Panama Canal is an architectural masterpiece for the movement of goods around the Americas. Within hours, vessels can move from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea and save a 12,000-kilometre trip around the Chilean peninsula.

The eye of the storm passes, but difficult times are still ahead

With one of the longest dry seasons in decades, water levels have plummeted, posing risks that vessels could run aground. Consequently, congestion has risen, with more than 200 ships halted. For those without a booking to pass through delays of up to a 25-days are possible. 

Fortunately, it has been reported that the worst of the congestion has passed, however fears across the maritime industry loom due to a potential crisis to come next Spring.

Delays are leading to changes in strategy

The delays in canal transit have led to congestion at ports on both ends, consequently affecting ground transportation, warehousing, and distribution processes. Given that manufacturers and shippers have traditionally depended on predictable shipping schedules, the impact could be damaging for manufacturers worldwide.

Considering the latest developments, distributors are reassessing their strategies and trying to find solutions to mitigate the financial impact of the extreme event so far.

Ricuarte Vazquez administrator of the ACP reported: that canal officials are seeing more container vessels lightening their load by transferring cargo at the rate of 600-800 boxes at one terminal at the Panama Port and transferring those boxes via rail. The boxes are then picked up on the other side of the transit.

Adaptability continues to show its importance

In the dynamic logistics landscape, adaptability continues to emerge as a crucial factor. The operational teams at Evolution’s Global Control Centres are actively monitoring the ongoing situation. We maintain a database of alternative transport modes and routes, coupled with strategic planning to reduce the risk to our clients.

Diversified Transportation Routes are fundamental: Relying solely on the Panama Canal is risky, especially in times of uncertainty,

Advanced Planning is essential: With the possibility of delays in transit, advanced planning allows us to build buffer times into your supply chains to accommodate unexpected disruptions.

Collaboration and Communication is key to success: Maintaining open lines of communication with our shipping partners, carriers, suppliers, and clients is fundamental to achieving success in delivering goods with critical deadlines. Our Control Centres operate 24/7/365 and can you lead to more effective decisions in mitigating the disruption in the Panama Canal.

You can contact our team in North America on or by phone on +1 (855) 738 6564

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