Drought on the Panama Canal continues to slow down global ag trade

Both imports and exports are moving through the Panama Canal at a slower pace as the ag industry continues to deal with drought-related restrictions.

Returning from a recent trip to the Panama Canal, an Indiana farmer says drought in Central America continues to impact global trade. Carey McKibben told Brownfield Ag News that the lower water levels are slowing business with some of the United States’ largest trade partners.

The slowdown is impacting both imports and exports since domestic producers export a lot of corn and soybeans to Peru and Chile. And, in return, those countries send fruits, vegetables, and aquaculture back to the U.S.

This year is the second-driest year on record in the Canal’s history and ultimately became the first year to require trade restrictions due to extremely low water levels.

Currently, only 22 ships are allowed to pass through the waterway each day. The Panama Canal Authority is set to increase that number to 24 on January 16 if weather conditions are favorable.

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Marion is a digital content manager for RFD-TV and The Cowboy Channel. She started working for Rural Media Group in May 2022, bringing a decade of experience in the digital side of broadcast media as well as some professional cooking experience to the team.