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Panama Canal Helps Save the Planet

[ February 2, 2021   //   ]

By offering a shorter route for ships, the Panama Canal contributed to a reduction of more than 13 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent emissions in 2020, in comparison to the most likely alternative routes.

These savings are equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions of 2.8 million passenger vehicles driven for a year or the carbon sequestered by 217 million tree seedlings grown for 10 years.
Helping inform how the maritime industry adopts initiatives to reduce the carbon footprint and to mark the anniversary of IMO 2020 sulphur reduction implementation, the Panama Canal announced today the launch of a CO2 Emissions Dashboard, through which it will publish monthly data on the CO2 emissions saved by vessels that chose to transit the Panama Canal over the most likely alternative route. The dashboard will allow users to compare CO2 emissions reductions by route, segment and customer, with data updated each month. The dashboard currently has the overall 2020 data, but will begin reporting the monthly figures next month.

“The Panama Canal has long looked for ways to provide greater value to customers beyond serving as a shortcut, with environmental benefits at the forefront of that effort,” said Panama Canal Administrator Ricaurte Vásquez Morales. “Our goal is to help customers create more sustainable supply chains. By publishing this data each month, we aim to be more transparent about how the Panama route helps shippers reduce emissions with each transit and track our own growth as a green route for global maritime trade.”

The data will be informed by the waterway’s Emissions Calculator, which allows shippers to measure their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions per route, including the amount saved by taking the Panama Canal over other routes. Now using georeferenced data and technology already aboard vessels, the Emissions Calculator takes various factors into consideration – such as vessel type, speed, route, size, capacity, type of fuel, and fuel consumption – to provide the most accurate measurements.

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