A ship passes under the Puente Centenario bridge as it transits through the Panama Canal during a longstanding drought in Pedro Miguel, Panama. Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty

An intense drought has led to a 36% decline in traffic for the Panama Canal, one of the most important maritime trade routes in the world.

Officials have denied ship crossings 36% as the canal has decreasing water levels from the drought, The Associated Press reported.

According to Ricaurte Vásquez, the administrator of the Panama Canal Authority, the decline of water in the artificial waterway could exceed previous cost loss estimates of $200 million this year, reaching up to $700 million in 2024.

The ongoing drought has disrupted trade, with Panama Canal Authority reporting the driest October in 2023 since October 1950. That month, authorities established reservation slots for transit. In November, the authority adjusted the daily transit to 31 vessels per day as part of its water-saving measures. In normal conditions, 38 vessels per day were permitted to cross the canal.

The canal authority recently reduced the number of vessels allowed […]

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