The Panama Canal has begun the process of decarbonizing its operations with the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.
To begin the transition to a greener canal, the waterway acquired four electric vehicles as part of a pilot program that will collect data to inform the migration of the entire Canal fleet away from dependence on fossil fuels.
Part of its strategic decarbonization plan also includes tugboats and launches using alternative fuels, replacing electricity production processes in favor of photovoltaic plants, using hydropower, and ensuring that all facilities and infrastructure projects are environmentally responsible and sustainable.
“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,” said Ricaurte Vásquez Morales, Panama Canal administrator.
The Panama Canal began tracking its carbon footprint in 2013 to align its operations with global emissions reduction targets to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Its plans to become carbon neutral were reinforced in 2017 with the launch of its Emissions Calculator, a tool that allows shipping lines to measure their greenhouse gas emissions by route, and strengthens the Canal’s analysis of the emissions produced by its own daily operations.
The Canal has joined the declaration of the “First 50 Carbon Neutral Organizations,” an initiative led by Panama’s Ministry of Environment to integrate national efforts to accelerate measurable climate action.
As part of the new national initiative, the Canal will develop an annual greenhouse gas inventory, as well as an action plan with measurable targets to reduce emissions.
The waterway has contributed to the reduction of more than 13 million tons of CO2 equivalent emissions by 2020 by providing a shorter route for ships compared to the most likely alternative routes.