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Panama Canal proposes toll structure modifications

Panama Canal panama canal ship
Toll changes will affect dry bulk, passenger, containership, vehicle carrier, roll-on/roll-off and tankers.

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) recently held a public hearing on proposed toll structure modifications, which are set to be implemented Jan. 1, 2020.

After a careful evaluation and analysis of the comments received, and once all pertinent considerations are incorporated into the structure, ACP said its board of directors will approve the final proposal. From there, the proposal will be presented to the Cabinet Council of the Republic of Panama, which will officially approve the modifications.

ACP said the proposed modifications are designed to increase transparency and flexibility to ensure that the waterway remains competitive and optimal for the industry today and moving forward.

The proposed tolls modifications will affect the dry bulk, passenger, containership, vehicle carrier, roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) and tankers.

  • Dry bulk segment - This matches tolls charged to Neopanamax vessels carrying iron ore with the tolls assessed for grains and “other dry bulk” cargoes and includes a tariff adjustment for Neopanamax dry bulkers transiting in ballast.
  • Passenger segment - The modifications add transparency to the tolls structure of the passenger segment by charging based on the maximum passenger capacity that can be carried by each specific passenger vessel. The unit of measurement is changing from a “per berth” to a “per passenger” basis, making it easier for cruise lines to transfer transit costs to their customers.
  • Containership segment - More attractive incentives will be offered for customers who benefit from the Panama Canal Loyalty Program by adding new levels with rates in the capacity charge for shipping lines deploying between 2,000,001 and 3,000,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) and additional reductions for lines deploying an incremental more than 3 million TEU.
  • Vehicle carrier and RoRo segment - A new tariff category will be created precisely designed for Neopanamax vessels. Additional modifications for this segment include slight changes in tolls tariffs for Panamax-sized vessels, as well as minor adjustments based on vessel size ranges.
  • Tankers, chemical tankers, liquefied petroleum gas and liquefied natural gas vessels - Toll structures remain unchanged, but toll adjustments are proposed to more closely align with the value of the route.
  • Small vessels and local tourism - Revisions will consider the resources used in the transit and the complexity of accommodating these vessels within the locks’ chambers.
  • Containers on deck - The rates charged to non-container vessels carrying containers on deck will be reviewed to apply a TEU differentiated charge for TEUs that are empty, loaded dry and loaded refrigerated.
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