Shipowners are facing having to offload cargo in the Panama Canal after the allowed draft level was reduced again.

The canal authority said: "Based on the present and projected levels of Gatun Lake for the following weeks, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) announces that, effective April 30, the maximum authorised draft for vessels transiting the neopanamax locks will be 13.41 metres."

Vessels over this limit may be allowed to transit, depending on the actual level of Gatun Lake at the time of passage.

"Otherwise, they will be required to trim or off-load cargo in order to be allowed to transit," ACP added.

Boxship line ACL said: "The draft reduction will likely result in reduced number of containers per vessel on services transiting the Panama Canal, in order to comply."

The previous draft limit was 13.7 metres, which was announced in March.

Fotios Katsoulas, a liquid bulk analyst at IHS Markit's Commodities At Sea, said at the time: "This is expected to have a huge impact on trade flows of aframax tankers, since a fully laden aframax that transits through the neopanamax locks would have a draught of 14.9 metres."

This is the sixth change in the restrictions so far in 2019.