Panama Canal toll restructure plan gets consent from the government

Panama Canal
Image by Steve Barker from Pixabay

The Panama Canal toll restructure plan will kick off in January 2023 after several proposals and consultations between the Cabinet Council of the Republic of Panama and shipping industry stakeholders.

The new toll scheme was first proposed in April 2022, followed by consultations involving 17 parties who made submissions in writing. On 20 May 2022, the proposal received a public hearing in Panama with the participation of local and international customer representatives.

The Panama Canal Authority (PCA) management hinted at a reduced number of tariffs from 430 to less than 60, with value-based pricing from the new toll restructure scheme.

“The proposal aims to strengthen the tolls structure in a way that is consistent with the value provided by the Canal transit service while providing greater visibility and predictability to customers,” emphasized Ricaurte Vasquez Morales, the Panama Canal Administrator.

The container ships category will see a reduction in rates of $2 per teu in 2023, $4 per teu in 2024, and $6 per teu in 2025, instead of the initial proposals for increases of $5, $6.50, and $8 for the respective years.

It was further agreed that tolls will be 80% of the laden rather than the initial 90% for vessels in ballast condition.

In a statement by the Asian Shipowners Association (ASA), some ships faced a 100% increase in tolls by 2025.

“Such a significant toll hike may not be compatible with the long-term sustainability required for a global infrastructure,” the association said.

Existing charges applied to full container vessels will be revoked to create room for the new tolls and avoid overlaps with the Total TEU capacity (TTA) charges.

Other proposed tariffs such as the proposed modifications to the container ship loyalty programme will see active implementation from January 2023 to January 2025. Current incentives for container ships and liquefied natural gas (LNG) will be obsolete by January 2023 when the new toll structure takes effect.

Details on the new pricing system can be accessed, in English and Spanish, at the official website.

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