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Hundreds of ships stuck in huge traffic jam at Panama Canal

  1. Incidents

A huge flotilla of ships is stuck in the world’s largest traffic jam at the Panama Canal. According to the Wall Street Journal, there are more than 200 ships, as transit through the canal has been affected by the worst drought it has experienced in the last century.

© Marine Traffic

The 80-kilometer-long canal is replenished by rainwater. When there is not enough rain, the authorities are forced to reduce traffic through the canal to save water, and those that are allowed through have to pay higher fees.

Daily traffic is currently limited to 32 ships, down from an average of 36 during normal conditions.


As the drought intensified last month, canal administrator Ricaurte Vásquez Morales said traffic restrictions could remain in place until the end of the year. It will cost the canal about $200 million in lost revenue. In addition to financial problems, the drought has become the biggest threat to the existence of the canal.

As of right now, the wait to enter the canal on both the Atlantic and Pacific sides is approximately 20 days.

With droughts worsening as a result of climate change, such incidents will become more frequent and serious.

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