Source: Panama Canal Authority.
Average Transit Times for the Panama Canal, 2002-2012
There are two major components in the transit time for the Panama Canal. The canal transit time (CTT) is the average time it takes for a ship to cross the canal from its entry point in Balboa to its exit in Colon (or vice-versa). The time spent in Panama Canals' waters (PCWT) includes the transit time in addition to the waiting time spent waiting for a transit slot to become available. While CCT is relatively stable around 10.5 hours, PCWT varies according to the traffic level. For instance, between 2003 and 2008, the number of transits through the Panama Canal increased substantially, which resulted in a significant increase of PCWT, particularly because ships were waiting longer periods to enter the canal. Such a surge was an important justification for the expansion project since the Canal was contemplating diminishing reliability levels.