PANAMA CANAL REPORTS DECLINE IN TRAFFIC, REVENUE FOR YEAR

PANAMA CANAL REPORTS DECLINE IN TRAFFIC, REVENUE FOR YEAR

Ocean traffic and revenue for the Panama Canal dropped slightly in the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30 as shipments of key commodities slowed and world economic growth remained stagnant, the Panama Canal Commission said.

In its lastest quarterly report, the U.S.-run canal commission said there were 12,257 ocean transits through the canal last year, down from 12,636 in fiscal year 1992.Revenue from tolls totaled $400.9 million, about $30 million more than last year's $368 million, but 1.7 percent less than projected in the commission's budget, the commission said.

Net tonnage passing through the canal was also down, from 190.0 million tons in 1992 to 187.8 million tons in 1993, the commission said.

Refrigerated products, iron and steel products, coal, lumber and phosphates were some of the commodities that moved more slowly. Transits by vehicle carriers were also down.

During last week's meeting of the commission's board of directors, Robert R. McMillan was elected chairman.

Under a 1977 treaty, the Panama Canal will be turned over to Panama on Dec. 31, 1999, and the canal commission will cease to exist. The Panamanian government has not decided what will replace the commission.