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Emissions reduction from International Shipping through the use of the Panama Canal route
by Panama Canal Authority (Government)
Since its opening in 1914 the Panama Canal has reduced time and distances. More than a million vessels have used the route through Panama, cutting distances, reducing costs and changing the pattern of world trade. The expansion of the Canal has enlarged the capacity for cargo transportation on this route, thereby setting new standards for maritime trade and industry.

The Panama Canal route with its expanded canal offers the maritime industry the opportunity to transport greater volumes of cargo using fewer ships. Moreover, it will reduce CO2 emissions and require fewer cargo movements by comparison with other air, road and rail transport systems.

Over its 103 years of operation, the Panama Canal Green Route is calculated to have saved approximately more than 650 million tonnes of CO2 emissions. It is estimated that the Green Route including the expanded Canal will save over 160 million tonnes of CO2 in its first 10 years of operation.

The Panama Canal has developed software that automatically calculates the CO2 and harmful emissions associated with maritime transport, incorporating different routes and cargo transport modes. Among the criteria used in developing this tool, two stand out: it should be easy to use and, the calculation method should be consistent. The inputs used in calculating CO2 and harmful emissions are: type of ship, amount of cargo, mode of transport, origin and destination of cargo.
Progress reports
Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels
Type of commitment
  • Coastal carbon sinks/blue carbon
  • Carbon capture and sequestration
  • CO2 emission reductions (energy efficiency, renewable energy, etc.)
  • Scientific research and cooperation to address ocean acidification knowledge gaps
Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries
Type of commitment
  • Research capacity development
  • Data access and sharing
July 2026
an award system which will calculate the savings in tonnes of CO2 and harmful emissions achieved by using the Panama route as compared with alternative routes
July 2026
a programme to reward environmentally-friendly performance by clients and ships which achieve the environmental limits set by the International Maritime Organization and/or show outstanding compliance with globally recognized parameters
Financing (in USD)
250,000 USD
Basic information
Time-frame: 2016 July - 2026 July
Panama Canal Authority
Ocean Basins
  • North Atlantic
  • North Pacific
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
maritime transportation system around the world
Contact information
Carlos Vargas, Vicepresidente Ejecutivo de Ambiente, Agua y Energa, cvargas@pancanal.com, (507)2722684
Panama, Panama
Other SDGs
United Nations