The Panama Canal is advancing its sustainability goals, with plans to become carbon neutral by the end of the decade, canal officials said this week.
The Panama Canal Authority said Monday it has launched a process to decarbonize its operations by 2030 through a combination of operational efforts and national incentives. Those include the purchase of four electric vehicles for a pilot program aimed at transitioning its fleet away from fossil fuels as well as efforts to transition to alternative fuels for powering tugboats, launches, and facilities. Officials also said the canal has joined the “50 First Carbon-Neutral Organizations,” an initiative by Panama’s Ministry of Environment to integrate national efforts to accelerate so-called measurable climate actions. As part of that program, the canal will develop an annual greenhouse gas inventory, as well as an action plan with measurable targets to reduce emissions, officials also said.
“We at the Panama Canal are committed to sustainability, and therefore are laying the foundation, creating the tools, and identifying the changes needed to achieve efficiencies that will allow us as an organization to reach carbon neutrality. This is a fundamental strategy for the waterway’s long-term operation and sustainability,” Panama Canal Administrator Ricaurte Vásquez Morales said in a statement Monday. “This process will build on our long-standing efforts to minimize our environmental impact, including encouraging customers to use clean fuels and reduce their carbon footprint.”
The Panama Canal first began tracking its carbon footprint in 2013, and bolstered those efforts in 2017 with the launch of the canal’s Emissions Calculator, a tool that allows shipping lines to measure their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per route and also strengthens the canal’s analysis of the emissions produced by its own day-to-day operations.
The Panama Canal has taken other steps to reduce its environmental impact, including implementing water conservation measures and optimizing transits, officials also said.