The milestone transit also highlighted the Canal’s environmental benefits because of its ability to help vessels reduce the distance and duration of their trips, in comparison to alternate routes. Combined with Al Safliya’s Q-Flex class design, which allows for the 40% reduction of emissions in comparison to other gas carriers, the Panama Canal and Qatargas saved almost 10,000 tons of CO2 emissions compared to alternative routes.
This achievement follows the 6,000th Neopanamax vessel transit in the Panama Canal, a milestone marked by another LNG tanker, Energy Liberty, on April 23.
The transit opens the way for more Q-Flex LNG tankers to pass through the Panama Canal. This comes after an increase in the maximum allowable beam for vessels transiting the Neopanamax locks. The maximum beam allowed is now 51.25 meters, up from 49 meters.
Now the Canal is expecting to see increase in its LNG transits after the new beam increase. Specifically, during 2018, the Canal saw 340 LNG transits, up from 181 transits in 2017. So far in 2019, the Canal has experienced more than 100 LNG transits.