The study, which was presented Friday at a conference in Naples, Italy, said the canal transported 983.4 million tons of cargo last year, which was an 8.2 percent year-over-year increase over 2017’s then-record amount. The amount of goods on ships traveling north to south totaled 524.6 million tons, a 9.8 percent increase, and south to north increased 6.6 percent to 458.8 million tons.
More than 18,000 ships used the waterway last year, a 3.6 percent increase from 2017. The average size of vessels transiting the canal in 2018 grew by 12 percent compared to 2014, which was the final year before the expansion opened in August 2015.
Containerships were the most common vessel on the canal as 5,706 — a 2.5 percent increase — used the waterway in 2018. Containers accounted for half of all goods transited in the canal, and combined with oil represented 74 percent of its goods, the report said.
Overall, more than 9 percent of international trade passes through the canal, according to the study.