Panama Canal delays: Christmas risks being ruined as trade route suffers worst drought on record
Panama Canal, one of the world's busiest trading routes, is facing major delays after suffering its worst-ever drought on record. The news has prompted fears that Christmas supplies on their way to the UK could be at risk of getting held up over the coming weeks.
After a lengthy spell of arid conditions, accompanied by the driest October on record, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has imposed daily transit number restrictions, which could last until 2028, according to freight service, Metro Shipping.
The canal, which connects the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean, has seen water levels plummet to their lowest levels since the mid-1900s. Therefore, the amount of vessels passing through the trade route is being regulated and has caused reported wait times of up to two weeks.
Analysis by shipping market advisor Braemar found the number of transits completed by Bulkers in November was 60% down on the same time last year. Some carriers are allegedly exploring alternative routes instead of traversing the canal.
Will Panama Canal restrictions impact UK Christmas?
Experts believe the Panama Canal drought could cause 'shortages of goods' and 'increased prices' for consumers this Christmas. David Jinks, head of consumer research at ParcelHero, told MailOnline: “How might the Panama crisis affect Christmas here in the UK? Forty per cent of container traffic to the US uses the canal. The result could be shortages of goods and increased prices as retailers fight over available stocks.”