The Panama Canal Authority said it will temporarily lower the maximum allowable draft for vessels transiting through the Panama Canal in September due to El Nino-related droughts, the first such restriction in nearly 20 years. The maximum allowable draft will be lowered to 11.89 meters (39 feet), from the current level of 12.04 meters (39.5 feet) from September 8, in a move that could affect almost 20% of vessels transiting the canal. “These temporary and preventive measures are due to an anticipated climatic variability event related to El Nino … it has triggered a drought in the Canal Watershed, causing the water levels of Gatun and Alhajuela Lakes to fall substantially below their average for this time of year,” the Panama Canal Authority, or ACP, said in shipping advisory Friday. El Nino is a phenomenon marked by a warming of sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific and can […]