Recent news coverage has reported on the droughts and resulting shipping delays in the Panama Canal Zone. As of writing, an estimated200 ships are awaiting passage on either side. The Panama Canal Authority issued an advisory that it is reducing crossings from 32 ships per day, down from an average of 36. Lower water depths in the canal have also meant some carriers have had to offload some containers before crossing. Some ships have been delayed by as many as 21 days, and at least one report noted China-U.S. spot shipping rates are up by 36%.
The Panama Canal Authority has noted that reduced number of daily crossings and lower water depths may continue into 2024. Firsd Tea will continue to monitor the situation. It is our intention to keep our customers updated on how this changing situation may affect inventory levels in our East and West Coast warehouses.