PANAMA CITY (Reuters) - Cargo traffic through the Panama Canal rose 2 percent in the 2014 fiscal year to 326.8 million tonnes, the Panama Canal Authority said on Monday.
The small annual rise was helped by a bumper harvest in the United States, with farmers sending their crops via grain tankers to customers in Asia, Panama Canal Administrator Jorge Quijano said in a statement.
He added that during the fiscal year, which runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, toll revenue was up 3.2 percent over last year, at $1.91 billion.
The 100-year-old canal, which is a major global trade artery, is in the midst of a massive expansion that will allow the world’s largest tankers to pass through the isthmus.
The expansion, which involves building a third set of locks onto the 50-mile (80-km) waterway, was originally scheduled to be completed this year, but has been delayed several times, in part due to a dispute earlier this year over about $1.6 billion in cost overruns.
The deadline for completion is now early 2016.
Reporting by Elida Moreno; Editing by Ken Wills