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Protests in Panama – How supply chain is affected

Understand the current situation in Panama, marked by nationwide protests, and its impact on the country’s transportation sector and implications on global trade.

Panama map

What is happening?

There are currently nationwide protests in Panama that are having an impact on the supply chain. These protests began in late October in response to the Panamanian government's decision to sign a contract with a Canadian mining company. Protesters have blocked the streets, making transporting goods around the country very difficult and at times impossible. This disruption has resulted in restricted operating hours for warehouses, customs, ports, trucking services, and numerous companies due to heightened security concerns.

Transportation impacts

  • Cross-border road transport: Paso Canoas Border is closed, San Felix, Divisa and Horconcitos are also closed. Road shipments to Central America is currently not possible.
  • Domestic road transport: From Colon to Panama City, best option is to pick up early in the morning and dispatch the next day around 5:00 A.M. to avoid trucks getting stuck in road closures.
  • Ocean transport: DSV suggests using services departing from Manzanillo port to avoid container movements from Colon Free Zone to Panama City.

Drought / Delays at Panama Canal

With the ongoing drought happening at the Panama Canal, the local authority has issued further reductions in daily transits through the canal between now and February 2024. From November 3, 2023, the number of booking slots were reduced to 25 per day. Beginning February 1, 2024, and until further notice, the number of booking slots will be reduced to 18 per day. This means a 50% cut in daily transits as of February 1, 2024, compared to July 2023, and are for all ship types. Container ships get priority, but a 50% cut is going to impact container shipping as well. This will increase wait times to go through the canal and thereby increase transit times. For more information on the Panama Canal from the past several months, click the links below:

DSV is monitoring the situation closely and will be sure to keep our partners and clients informed. Should you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your local DSV representative.

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