A container ship waits to enter the Panama Canal
A container ship waits to enter the Panama Canal on September 24, 2023. AFP

The Panama Canal delivered $2.5 billion to the national treasury for last year's operations, the government said Monday, despite record-low water levels that limited ship transits.

About six percent of global maritime trade passes through the canal each year, and the Panama Canal Authority earns money from tolls and services rendered to ships.

This year's contributions are the highest amount that the Panamanian state has received from the Canal, inaugurated by the United States in 1914.

The Canal Authority earlier said it had received $3.3 billion in total revenue in the period from October 1, 2022, to September 30, 2023, $319 million higher than a year earlier.

Of that amount, after deducting operating costs, it passed along $2.5 billion to the Panamanian government.

In 2023, 510 million tons of cargo passed through the Panamanian waterway, eight million less than in the previous year.

The number of transits also fell from 13,003 vessels to 12,638. This decrease is due to measures that the Canal Authority has taken to restrict vessel traffic due to water shortages resulting from climate change and the El Nino phenomenon.

The canal operates entirely from water collected through rainfall.

According to authorities, 2023 is the second-driest year in the Canal watershed's recorded history. The drought has caused the Canal Authority to reduce transit from 39 ships per day to 24 as of January.