Panama Canal revenues totaled 2,513.2 million dollars in 2018, 8.5% more than the 2,316.3 million of the previous year, according to figures from the Institute National Statistics and Census (Inec) released on Wednesday.
The revenue increase of 2018 is less than the 17.6% of the previous year, a performance deemed extraordinary by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), which was the product of the full operation of the extension of the road, which entered service to mid 2016
Regarding the results of 2018, the preliminary figures of the statistical entity specify that last December was the month with the highest revenues for the interoceanic route, with 220.8 million dollars, 2.8% more than in the same period of 2017.
But the biggest monthly rise was recorded in May, with 16.1% of total revenues of 216.5 million dollars compared to 186.5 million dollars in the same month of 2017, said the Inec.
The transit of ships through the Canal, where about 6% of world trade passes, came in 2018 at 13,692, 0.2 percent more than the 13,666 the previous year, indicated preliminary official data.
For the new interoceanic canal locks, which give way to ships with triple the load that crosses them through the centennial canal, a total of 2,643 high-draft transits were recorded, above the 2,025 of the previous year.
The ACP approved last December to deliver to the Panamanian State 1,703 million dollars corresponding to fiscal year 2018, a "historic" contribution for the public coffers, and 53 million dollars higher than the one granted the previous year.
The administrator of the channel, Jorge Luis Quijano, explained then that it was foreseen to deliver to the National Treasury 1.659 million dollars, but that another 44 million were added due to the "spectacular" performance of the interoceanic route during fiscal year 2018.
"This year is a record year and for the first time we passed the barrier of 1,700 million dollars in contributions to the State", said the top manager of the interoceanic highway, which connects more than 140 sea routes and 1,700 ports in 160 countries.
The Panama Canal reported Wednesday that it has been applying water saving measures for several months in the face of the possibility of the dry season lengthening and aggravating the El Niño weather phenomenon, which causes severe droughts and whose effects in Central America were especially serious in 2016.
"The Panama Canal Authority, since before (the beginning of) the phenomenon of El Niño in November, implemented a program of water conservation in the locks", said the Executive Vice President of Environment, Water and Energy of the interoceanic route, Carlos Vargas.
The program, the executive explained, includes "cross-flooding of locks", "intensive use of tubs" and the temporary closure of a hydroelectric plant in the canal "to prevent that water leave the system".
The interoceanic road, through which passes about 6% of world trade, operates with lock systems at different levels, which require 202,000 cubic meters of water each time a ship passes.