Main Routes

The geographical position of Panama in the narrowest point of the Central American isthmus strategically connects the countries of the world especially those with commercial activities in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The accessibility provided by the Panama Canal competitively binds all global markets, mainly Asia, Europe, North and South America.

The main trade routes with traffic in the Panama Canal are:

  • East Coast of U.S.A. and Asia (Far East)
  • East Coast of U.S.A. and West Coast of South America
  • Europe and West Coast of South America
  • East Coast of U.S.A and West Coast of Central America
  • Coast to Coast of South America

These main routes, along with other that use the waterway, reported for the 2022 fiscal year a total of 518,173 PC/UMS[1] net tonnage, representing an increase of 0.4% compared with 2021.

Source:  Panama Canal



[1] PC/UMS is the Panama Canal Universal Measurement System.  This amount also includes the PC/UMS tonnages for container and passenger vessels. 


Traffic Statistics

The Panama Canal operates under a countinuous working schedule of 24 hours, 365 days.  This means that the waterway is available for all ships willing to cross from one ocean to another. With an effective traffic scheduling system, the Canal ensures an expedite and secure transit of each vessel if the weather conditions, demand and own vessel's technical conditions permit it.

For the fiscal year 2022, the Panama Canal registered a total of 14,239 transits, either oceangoing or small vessels, transporting 291 million long tons of goods, and generating tolls that totaled USD 3,028 million.

Fiscal Year Number of transits Tolls Long tons of cargos
2022 14,239 3,028,000,000 291,755,543
2021 13,342 2,968,000,000 287,493,860
2020 13,369 2,663,000,000 255,738,621
2019 13,785 2,593,000,000 253,042,090
2018 13,795 2,484,696,000 255,049,145
2017 13,548 2,238,035,000 241,008,112
2016 13,114 1,932,993,872 204,706,283
2015 13,874 1,991,295,609 229,147,990
2014 13,481 1,910,233,817 227,518,351
2013 13,660 1,849,679,052 212,108,694
2012 14,544 1,852,409,775 218,054,902
2011 14,684 1,730,052,192 222,357,111
2010 14,230 1,481,962,773 204,854,465

Source:  Panama Canal.  Statistics and Models Management Unit (MEEM)


Oceangoing commercial traffic through the Panama Canal by month (FY 2019-2022)



The major oceangoing vessel's traffic by market segment is given by the dry bulk carriers that accounted 2,910 ships during the fiscal year 2022, followed by the container carriers with 2,822 ships, and the chemical tankers with 2,332 transits. The participation of these market segments represented 22.5%, 21.8% and 18% respectively of the total number of transits.




Main Commodities

A large number of goods transit the Panama Canal ranging from commodities and raw materials, manufactured and high tech products.  The main goods that uses the waterway can be grouped into:

  • Containerized cargo
  • Coal
  • Grains (main oats, corn, soybeans, rice, and other miscelaneous grains)
  • Minerals and metals
  • Crude oil and fuels
  • Chemicals



Main Users

The Panama Canal is committed to remain as an alternative for international trade by satisfying the needs of the maritime industry focusing in understanding the characteristics and needs of each market. This commitment ensures that the services provided by the Canal are adequate to the different segments, either for the toll  rates or technical requirements that are demanded.

Part of the Corporate Mission of the Panama Canal is to build long-lasting relationships with the Canal users, adding value to their business and an outstanding quality service.

Among some of the Panama Canal users:

  • American President Line
  • China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company
  • Compañía Sud Americana de Vapores (CSAV)
  • Evergreen Marine
  • Hamburg-Sud
  • Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd (K-Line)
  • Maersk Line
  • Mediterranean Shipping Co.
  • Mitsui O.S.K.
  • Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK)
  • Seatrade Reefer Chartering NV
  • STX Pan Ocean Company LTD
  • Wallenius Wilhelmsen Lines
  • Zim Israel Compañía de Navegación

Advisories to Shipping

The Panama Canal maintains all their users updated of the requirements, restrictions, security measures, and all kind of general and operational information that is necessary for the smooth operations of the transit activities and other marine services offered to the vessels.  Also, the Canal has available in its website the Monthly Canal Operations Summary under Notices to Shipping.  These summaries have valuable information such as:

  • Resources usage
  • Traffic statistics, given in monthly average, maximum and minimum values of:
    • Arrivals
    • Canal water times (in hours)
    • In-Transit times (in hours)
    • Details of oceangoing transits 
    • Booking slots
  • Schedule of Canal infrastructure maintenance outages
  • General information

This information is accessible through the following link: