The sharp decline of oil prices in the last moths has affected the container traffic through Suez Canal and the Panama Canal, in a bid to avoid the high costs generated by the transit through this routes.
According to Reuters, in the last 12 months the oil prices have dropped 45% and experts estimate that this year´s prices average will keep around $40 per barrel. This trend is allowing cargo vessels to take the long way round Cape of Good Hope, localized in the southern tip of Africa.[caption id="attachment_4172" align="aligncenter" width="503"] New Hope route[/caption]
A report by the firm SeaIntel Maritime Analysis, based in Copenhagen, revealed that since October of 2015, 115 cargo vessels from Asia to the north of Europe and US East Coast travelled around Africa instead of going through Suez Canal. The firm assured that some shipping lines saved as much as $235,000 taking this action. In addition, it doesn´t represent a budget difference during the trip.
In the case of the Panama Canal happens the same way. Jorge Quijano, Administrator of the Authority of Panama Canal (ACP) said that in recent times with a high oil price, shipping lines reported that the fuel cost represented a 60% of the operation cost, but now, that percentage has dropped to 20%.
The strategy of ACP is focused now on the improvement of port capacity in order to provide an added value to this route.Sources:http://www.cnbc.com/2016/02/26/cargo-ships-could-save-thousands-by-skipping-the-suez-canal.htmlhttp://www.panamaamerica.com.pa/economia/el-canal-de-panama-pierde-negocio-por-baja-del-petroleo-1015872