Panamax and New Panamax
Defined using the maximum allowable width and length of the Panama Canal’s locks, vessels in the Panamax and New Panamax class can carry up to 120,000 DWT.
This class of ship is regulated by the canal’s maximum depth and height of the Bridge of the Americas (with a 201-foot clearance). These vessels have a capacity of up to 13,000 containers or TEUs. With an estimated 96 percent of ships now able to pass through the Panama canal’s locks, these vessels are suited for bulk shipment in large quantities on various routes, with the main condition reaching an aptly sized port.
This category of vessel cannot clear the restrictions imposed by the dimensions of the Panama or Suez canals, thereby requiring navigation between oceans by passing Cape Horn or Cape Agulhas.
The largest available dry bulk vessels in the Capesize class have a maximum capacity of 170,000 DWT. The category is most often used for bulk shipments of ore, raw materials, and coal, with its size restricting docking options to the largest terminals in the world.
The largest category of vessel that qualifies for handling bulk shipments, these ships are destined exclusively for transporting crude oil to and from only the largest ports in the world. With up to 550,000 DWT at its highest end, the category features several subtypes of vessels, including:
- Very large crude carriers (VLCC)
- Ultra-large crude carriers (ULCC)