The Panama Canal Authority said it will offer a just-in-time service to a limited number of ships that will allow them to have a more efficient transit.
Two just-in-time service slots per day will be offered to regular vessels (under
27.74 meters or 91 feet in beam) without transit restrictions, with a
maximum of one just-in-time service slot per direction. The allocation of these
service slots will be determined by the order the requests are
The authority said the new service will allow vessels to arrive at the canal much closer to their scheduled transit times. This value-added service will allow vessels to have a more efficient fuel use by having to remain at anchor for less time before actually beginning transit.
"This new service is part of our efforts to explore new options in order to better serve our customers,” Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano said. “The Panama Canal is not only committed to maintaining a high quality service, but also improve in the necessary areas."
The participation on this trial period will focus on vessels equipped with a type A Automatic Identification System (AIS) device. To evaluate the operational feasibility of the service, a proof-of-concept trial was developed and has been implemented since February 2013.
The authority said in order for this service to be functional for both the canal and its clients, vessel arrival times (ETA) must be as accurate as possible. The vessel must be willing and able to adjust its itinerary to meet the required ETA. Furthermore, the vessel must comply with the ACP pre-inspection procedures.
To achieve an effective level of just-in-time service, the selected vessels will be notified about 96 hours prior to their scheduled transit of their required ETA and tentative transit time. The Panama Canal will then use Satellite Automatic Identification System (SAIS) technology to track the vessels within a range of 2,000 nautical miles before arrival and ensure they can comply with the stipulated ETA.
The authority said non-booked vessels may request to participate in the just-in-time service; however, participation will be confirmed after securing a booking slot for that specific transit date. If the booking slot is not obtained, the vessel will not be allowed to participate in the service. - Chris Dupin