Supplies & Services

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a. Repairs

Emergency repairs can be carried out at both Cristobal and Balboa by local workshops. At Balboa, the Balboa Drydock, operated by Astilleros Braswell is able to offer general shipyard and drydocking facilities. Repair shops for the repair of navigational aids and radio equipment are also available.

b. Hull Cleaning

Underwater Hull Cleaning is available through various diving companies. This can usually be arranged at the anchorage whilst vessels await transit, at either Cristobal or Balboa. Arrangements can be made through this agency or directly with the service provider.

c. Surveyors

Lloyd's Register, American Bureau, Bureau Veritas, N.K.K., and Norske Veritas have resident surveyors at the Canal and Germanischer Lloyd is represented by Norske Veritas.

d. Provisions

Most victualling items are available at the Canal through commercial shipchandling firms in Panama. Bonded stores are also available. An early advice of vessel's requirements is helpful, particularly on weekends.

e. Pilotage and Tug Assistance

Pilotage is compulsory for all vessels berthing or unberthing at Cristobal and Balboa. Pilotage charges are assessed on the vessel's deepest draft when maneuvering. Furthermore, the pilot determines whether or not tug boats are required for port maneuvering and the number to be employed.

f. Gangways

Shore gangways are used exclusively at Balboa, and the Harbor Master's tie-up gang attends during the change in tides. Shore gangways are available at Cristobal, although vessels are frequently requested to rig accommodation ladders.

g. Bunkers

Bunkers are available at both ports and can be arranged locally on a cash basis or directly through major international suppliers who are represented in Panama. In addition to bunkering ex-wharf, supply can be effected at anchor by barge at both ports.

h. Dirty Ballast

There are limited facilities for receiving dirty ballast or slops, and regulations strictly prohibit its discharge in the port areas, Canal, or adjacent waters.

i. Cargo Operations

The terminal ports of Cristobal and Balboa are operated by a private company; Panama Ports (under a concession from the Panamanian Government) who furnish stevedoring gangs, as well as equipment, labor, provide storage, and move the cargo between shipside and delivery to the consignee. There is ample pier space and covered storage at both terminal ports and a vigorous program of improvement and rebuilding is underway, with particular emphasis on container handling facilities.

Additional charges are made for nonproductive time during cargo operations, including rain delays. Overtime is charged for work done out of regular weekday hours, and although cargo operations are possible throughout the year, on Carnival, Christmas, New Year, and other major national holidays, stevedoring operations are often curtailed by a shortage of gangs.

In addition to these terminals, privately operated ports at Cristobal such as Manzanillo International Terminal and Colon Container Terminal, provide leading edge technology for cargo operations, ranking among the most efficient in the world.

In view of rising costs and continuing changes to the structure of the tariff and operation guidelines for cargo activity, we consider it best to deal with inquiries individually, and will be pleased to provide proformas This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

j. Deck and Engine Stores

Deck stores, paints and lubricants are readily obtainable; however, engine supplies and replacement spares are in limited supply.

k. Laundry

There are facilities at both terminals of the Canal for laundering ship's linens, and prior arrangements must be made for night work or during weekends. If time does not permit return at the port of arrival, laundry landed at one end of the Canal may be processed and returned when the vessel reaches the opposite end.

l. Medical and Dental Facilities

There are modern and well equipped hospitals in Panama City. Emergency cases can be treated on board vessels at anchorage or underway, but this is an extremely expensive proposition.

m. Hydrographic Aids

American Hydrographic Charts, as well as British Admiralty Charts and Publications, are available.

n. Launch Service

Launch service at Cristobal and Balboa is provided by independent operators and/or the National Port Authority.

o. Ship's Spares in Transit

Air and sea freight consignments of spares can be dispatched to Panama for delivery to vessels whilst in transit. Owners must address spares to The Master M/V (Vessel Name) care of Associated Steamship Agents, S.A. and they must be marked "ships spares in transit". Prior advice should be given informing us of arrival details, or B/L number and carrier.

p. Supply Boats

For delivery of heavy spares, luboils etc., supply boats are available at both Cristobal and Balboa.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 July 2013 21:00  


Recent rainfall in the Canal watershed has allowed the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) to announce an increase to the maximum authorized draft for vessels transiting the Neopanamax locks.

Effective immediately, and until further notice, the maximum authorized draft allowed for vessels transiting the Neopanamax locks will be 13.72 m (45.0 feet) TFW.

The ACP will continue to closely monitor the level of Gatun Lake in order to announce future draft adjustments in a timely manner. (Advisory ADV28-2019)


Transits Through Expanded Panama Canal

Panama Canal Maintenance Schedule

East* 22 - 24
(Gatun Locks)
September 24 to October 1, 2019 (8 days ) Tentative - Booking Condition: 2
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