The Panamanian government has approved a Panama Canal Authority (ACP) proposal to modify the Panama Canal’s toll structure which provides tariff reductions for neo-Panamax vessels.
Vessels carrying between 3,500 teu and 6,000 teu benefit the most, with a reduction of US$20 per teu on the return voyage if they are deployed on the canal’s route in the head and back haul legs, provided they meet certain requirements.
To qualify for the reduction the ships must have a northbound transit utilisation rate of at least 70% and a time lapse between northbound and southbound transit of no more than 28 days, and the new tolls will be applied from October 1, 2017 – the start of Canal’s next fiscal year.
Speaking at the time of the original proposal, in June 2017, the Panama Canal’s administrator Jorge L. Quijano said: “Meetings with customers in Asia, Europe and North America have been extremely valuable in providing us with a deeper understanding of the industry today, the challenges faced by individual market segments, and the projected demand for the neo-Panamax locks.
“The proposed modifications safeguard the competitiveness of the waterway, the value of the route, and facilitates the Canal’s goal of providing an efficient and reliable service to the global shipping community.”
The ACP decided to offer additional incentives to the containership segment after considering the current utilisation of the neo-Panamax locks and the feedback received during meetings with customers in Asia, Europe and North America.
The time lapse period had originally been set at 25 days, but was extended to 28 following feedback in the consultation period.