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Shorter distances, fewer emissions

... metric tons of CO2 were recently saved during the passage of just one container ship through the expanded Panama Canal

Since its expansion in 2016, the Panama Canal has opened up entirely new dimensions in maritime transport. The waterway, which underwent an extensive upgrade, can now accommodate ships with a capacity of 14,000 TEU (20-foot standard containers) and more. Previously, vessels were limited to capacities significantly below 5,000 TEU. Just recently, the largest ship to date passed through the Panama Canal: the 14,855 TEU “CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt,” en route from Asia to the East Coast of the US.


Prior to the expansion, the ship would have been forced to travel westwards and circumnavigate Africa’s southern tip – a far longer route producing significantly higher levels of CO2 emissions. The Panama Canal Authority has calculated that by rounding the Cape of Good Hope the vessel would have emitted an additional 29,561 tons of carbon dioxide. According to the government agency responsible for the operation and management of the waterway, in its first year alone the expanded canal contributed to the reduction of 17 million metric tons of CO2 in total.

Faster and greener: the expanded Panama Canal reduces time and distance on many ship‘s routes – saving considerable amounts of CO2. Shown here is the “CMA CGA Theodore Roosevelt,” the largest vessel to date to pass the waterway

Photo: Courtesy of the
Panama Canal Authority

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