In order to understand how a transit through the Panama Canal is booked, you shall first understand the booking regulations and the booking system. All requests for transit need to be presented to the Marine Traffic Control system from the ACP, on a special form which will gives you a guarantee of the payment done of the fee.
¿Who determines the order of transit for booked vessels?
The Panama Canal Authorities determine the daily order of transit without any priority of request or arrival time. If you have a specific scheduled date of transit, the Canal authorities will guarantee your transit through the Canal.
¿What happens if I do not arrive to the booked transit date?
All vessels that do not arrive at the Canal on the day of transit, by 1400/0200 hours on the day of transit, forfeit the booking fee and lose the booked transit. Those vessels that were not able to arrive on time will be placed in the regular transit schedule as if they had not been booked for a transit.
¿How does it work?
Panama Canal have a transit reservation system application, which is an electronic information exchange between the ACP information system and the customer´s systems, that allows to collect, arrange, and validate information regarding your transit. Local shipping agents, owners and operators use this booking application to manage the booking transactions via online.
Booking Requests done through the booking application
- Daylight Transits
- Just in-Time transits
- Change in Booking Dates
¿Haven’t receive your access to the application?
Only registered agents have access to this application at any time in order to see all information of any kind of transit. The ACP provides each registered agent with a user name and password to log onto the Booking Application.
¿Do you want to know the booking slots available?
In order to check the Booking Slots Available, you shall go to https://bookingwp.panama-canal.com/
There is more...
ACP requires that a Customer Code be provided to every vessel that visit and transit the Panama Canal, with the exception of yachts or government vessels.
This code cannot be provided to an entity that does not represent, own, operate, or charter the transiting vessel. Only owners, operators and the company have access to the customer code from the vessel transiting the Panama Canal. You shall provide a proof of ownership of a shipping company in order to get the Customer. All prerequisites are available on the link below:
Customer Codes that are not used in a five-year period may be deactivated by the ACP Customer Services Unit. Customers who wish to reinstate a code that has been deactivated, are required to send a written request in this regard to the Customer Relations Unit.
Required Arrivals times for certain class of vessels:
- Neopanamax: arrival time is 2200 hours of the day prior to their booked date.
- Neopanamax LNG: arrival time is 0200 hours of their booked date.
- Neopanamax passenger vessels: exempted.
- Regular vessels with no restrictions: 1400 hours the day of transit.
¿How does the ACP know that we have arrive to Panama Canal Waters?
(a) The vessel is visually sighted by the signal station; or
(b) The vessel is identified on ACP radar by location, speed and course at a distance of not more than 8 nautical miles (13.6 kilometers) from the sea buoy on the Pacific side or from the breakwater entrance on the Atlantic side. In case a southbound vessel is departing a port in Manzanillo Bay, the vessel establishes radio contact with the ACP Cristobal Signal Station and reports its position as
it passes the East Breakwater entrance on a southbound course. The ACP Port Entry Coordinator confirms the vessel’s position through visual sighting or by radar.
- Allocation of reserved slots
- Further implementation of the Panama Canal Regulations, Article 23.