OOCL France becomes largest containership to transit the Panama Canal

The 13,926 teu OOCL France has become the largest capacity vessel to transit the expanded Panama Canal to date.

The neo-panamax boxship the OOCL France transited the canal from the Atlantic to Pacific basin on Wednesday 24 May.

The expanded Panama Canal was inaugurated last June with the capacity to handle container vessels of up to 14,000 teu compared to just 5,000 teu previously. However, it was not until recently that container lines started to deploy the largest possible containerships for the expanded canal on services via the waterway.

Prior to the OOCL France the largest containership to transit the Panama Canal was the 13,345 teu Cosco Development, which transited on 2 May. Both vessels are deployed on the Ocean Alliance’s weekly South Atlantic Express service.

“This trend towards the transit of 13,000 teu or greater vessels demonstrates the acceptance and trust that the shipping industry has with the service provided by the Expanded Canal,” said Panama Canal administrator Jorge L. Quijano said.

So far 1,360 neo-panamax vessels have transited the canal, with containerships making up 43.8% of that number.

Source http://www.seatrade-maritime.com

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