The Panama Canal published a proposal for modifying its current tolls structure. The proposal included modified tolls structure for the dry bulk, passenger, container ship and vehicle carrier and RoRo segments, as well as tankers, chemical tankers, LPG and LNG vessels, the intra-maritime cluster (local tourism segment) and minimum tolls (small vessels). Today’s announcement marks the beginning of a 30-day formal consultation period for industry feedback, which will close on July 15, 2019.
“With this proposal, we aim to better serve the global maritime industry,” said Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano. “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.”
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 has asked to charge on the basis of the maximum passenger capacity that can be carried by each specific passenger vessel which aims to add transparency to the tolls structure. The Canal has also proposed to change the unit of measurement from a “per berth” to a “per passenger” basis, which will make it easier for cruise lines to transfer transit costs to their customers.
The proposal includes toll modifications that will retain and encourage increased cargo volumes through the Panama Canal for the containership segment, which is the main user of Neopanamax Locks. The proposal specifically benefits customers by offering more attractive rates for customers who benefit from the Panama Canal Loyalty Program by adding new levels for shipping lines deploying between 2 million to 3 million TEUs with reduced rates in the capacity charge, and also adds more reductions for lines deploying an incremental over 3 million TEUs. In the last toll modification of fiscal year 2018 the incentive implemented for total TEU loaded in the return voyage (TTLR) will remain in effect.
The proposal included some modifications for adding more transparency to the toll structure for the Vehicle Carrier and RoRo segment. The proposal included a new tariff category or range precisely designed for Neopanamax vessels to account vessels sizes and capacity. For this segment some additional modifications includes slight increments in tolls tariffs for Panamax-sized vessels, as well as minor adjustments based on vessel size ranges. For tankers, chemical tankers, LPG and LNG vessels the toll structure remains unchanged, but tolls adjustments are proposed for aligning the value of route more closely.
The minimum tolls that is tolls for small vessels and for the local tourism market have been revised upwards and takes into account the resources used in the transit and the complexity of accommodating these vessels within the locks’ chambers. Last time in 2012, the last tariff adjustments for small vessels were implemented.
On the basis of comments submitted by clients during the 2017 public consultation and hearing process 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.
The complete proposal can be viewed at www.pancanal.com/peajes. On June 24, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. (local time) all the interested parties are invited to participate in the consultation process as well as the public hearing which will be held in Panama City, Panama. In accordance with established rules, The Panama Canal will consider all correspondence comments and opinions presented during the public hearing received by 4:15 p.m. (local time) on July 15,2019.
The Cabinet Council of the Republic of Panama will officially approve the modifications after carefully evaluating and analyzing the comments received, and any pertinent changes are incorporated in the proposal. It is expected that the date for implementation of the modifications to the tolls structure would be January 1, 2020.