Panama Gives Nod to Tolls Structure Modifications

Panama has approved a proposal to modify the Panama Canal tolls structure, following a recommendation from the Panama Canal Authority (ACP).

After an analysis of the current utilization and productivity of the Neopanamax Locks, and following meetings with Panama Canal executives, customers and industry representatives in Europe, Asia and North America, the proposed tolls modifications were announced on June 1, 2017. This was followed by a formal consultation period to ensure all interested parties could provide feedback for consideration.

On July 5, 2017, the Panama Canal held a public hearing to discuss the tolls structure modifications proposal, where the ACP received written comments from 12 representatives of associations, shipping lines and shippers.

The approved tolls modifications are scheduled to go into effect on October 1, 2017, at the beginning of the Canal’s fiscal year.

The proposal “will better facilitate the Canal’s goal of providing outstanding service and reliability to the global shipping and maritime community, while allowing the ACP to safeguard the competitiveness of the waterway.”

For the containership segment, the approved tolls structure “offers more attractive rates per loaded containers on the return voyage,” applicable only to Neopanamax vessels deployed on the Canal route in the head and back haul legs.

They apply when the utilization rate of the northbound transit is higher or equal to 70 percent, and when the time lapse between the northbound and the southbound transit is not greater than 28 days.

Additionally, the new structure modifies the tolls charged to liquefied natural gas (LNG) and liquid petroleum gas (LPG) vessels.

Finally, container/breakbulk vessels, formerly part of the others market segment, will be reclassified into the general cargo segment, thus resulting in “more attractive tariffs for customers in this category,” according to the ACP.

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