Cases / Panama Canal

Paragon Case: Panama Canal success story

The Panama Canal is one of the largest artificial lakes in the world and the most important logistical route for over a century. Let’s talk more about another PARAGON success story!

Panama Canal case: Expansion to Foster World Trade

The PANAMA CANAL is one of the most impressive engineering works ever built and was designed to be the link between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

For over a century, it has been the most important logistics alternative for maritime transport in international trade, as it allows, with its floodgates, to substantially reduce the time and cost of travel between the two oceans.

However, with the growth of emerging economies in recent decades, especially Brazil and China, the number of ships that navigate through the PANAMA CANAL and, mainly, the dimensions of said ships, have been increasing continuously.

These are the so-called Post-Panamax ships with a capacity of 170 thousand tons, which make commercial traffic smaller and more efficient from an economic point of view, as they can carry more goods.

This change in ship size represented a major challenge – to prepare for the inevitable expansion of the PANAMA CANAL, in order for it to be financially feasible for businesses and consumers around the world. 

PARAGON worked in partnership with PANAMA CANAL in a project that required a high level of expertise in technological solutions for large project´s decision support

Let’s talk about another success story!

Panama Canal case: The Challenges

It was necessary to find a solution that would allow ships with a capacity of around 170,000 tons, the so-called Post-Panamax, to travel through the region and, thus, maintain the productive route for enterprises that sought the lowest unitary freight value.

Moreover, not using the Canal for said companies was unthinkable, as it would result in longer trips – thus more expensive – or in keeping Panamax vessels – which meant more travel time, maintenance costs and ship production.

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP), the project’s managing body, decided to expand and optimize the canal’s activities in 2002, building the third set of locks to serve larger vessels.

It was also essential to know the best physical configuration scenario and operating rules to meet different levels of demand for the expanded channel and the resources needed to operate it.

The management of PANAMA CANAL defined the scope of a project to develop a decision support system aimed at mapping and studying the operating rules of the expansion in different scenarios.

PARAGON developed a solution, providing a detailed simulation model to be used by the client’s technical teams, which allowed for decision-making based on a large volume of data, including demand forecasts and trends.

Furthermore, the system would be used for optimizing ship scheduling and sequencing and for simulating traffic, navigation rules and lock operating conditions, considering the characteristics of the ships, scheduling, direction and other data.

The tool should simulate the operations of the PANAMA CANAL with current and expanded capabilities. The expansion works, with the third set of locks, were subsidized by a project also developed by PARAGON.

Panama Canal case: Solutions

PARAGON developed the project with Arena simulation technology combined with CPLEX, SQL, integration with Business Intelligence systems and transfer of know-how.

It also included a management dashboard based on Scenario Navigator  technology, offered exclusively in Latin America by Paragon.

During the final stages of building the expansion, ACP focused on defining operations rules for the new expanded canal, which spawned another major simulation project built by PARAGON: PCCM – Panama Canal Capacity Model.

Panama Canal case: Results

The ACP team developed several operational models with Arena, used for performance improvements and impact studies on an ongoing basis – tug operations procedures, labor requirements, maintenance plans, among others.

PCCM is used daily on multiple workstations, with thousands of scenarios having been analyzed to date.

Panama Canal case: Client Testimonial

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