The Panama Canal has released a proposal to modify its current tolls structure with an “aim to better serve the global maritime industry,” according to Jorge L. Quijano, the canal Administrator.
The move marks the beginning of a 30-day formal consultation
period for industry feedback, which will close on July 15, 2019.
“Our proposed modifications will increase transparency and
flexibility, among other improvements, to ensure the Panama Canal remains
competitive and optimal for the industry today and moving forward,” Quijano
For the dry bulk segment, the proposal offers matching the
tolls charged to Neopanamax vessels carrying iron ore with the tolls assessed
for grains and “other dry bulk” cargoes, as well as a tariff increase for
Neopanamax dry bulkers transiting in ballast.
The proposal also aims to 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. To that end,
the canal is proposing to change the unit of measurement from a “per berth” to
a “per passenger” basis, making it easier for cruise lines to transfer transit
costs to their customers, the authority explained.
For the containership segment the proposed toll
modifications “will help retain and incentivize increased cargo volumes”
through the Panama Canal. Specifically, the proposal offers more attractive
rates for customers who benefit from the Panama Canal Loyalty Program by adding
new levels with reduced rates in the capacity charge for shipping lines
deploying between 2 million to 3 million TEUs, and additional reductions for
lines deploying an incremental over 3 million TEUs. The incentive implemented
in the last toll modification of fiscal year 2018 for total TEU loaded in the
return voyage (TTLR) will remain in effect.
Additionally, the proposed modifications for the Vehicle
Carrier and RoRo segment include a new tariff category or range precisely
designed for Neopanamax vessels to account vessel sizes and capacity, as well
as slight increments in tolls tariffs for Panamax-sized vessels, as well as
minor adjustments based on vessel size ranges.
Toll structures for tankers, chemical tankers, LPG and LNG
vessels remain unchanged, but tolls adjustments are proposed to more closely
align with the value of the route.
Small vessels and local tourism market would see the tolls
revised upwards to take into account the resources used in the transit and the
complexity of accommodating these vessels within the locks’ chambers.
Lastly, the canal proposed to review the rates charged to
vessels carrying containers on deck, which do not belong to the container
shipping segment, to allow for differentiated charges for containers that are
empty, dry or refrigerated.