Panama Canal sets new toll structure for 2016
The board of the Panama Canal Authority has approved a new transit toll structure that it hopes to implement in April 2016, after the new locks debut.
"The ACP thoroughly analyzed various alternatives and held conversations with the maritime industry for over a year," explained ACP administrator Jorge Quijano.
He maintained that "the proposal, in its current form, safeguards the competitiveness of the waterway" and "charges a fair price for the value of the route". A public hearing on the plan will be held on 27 February, with written comments due by 9 February.
The proposal represents a major change in ACP policy in that each vessel segment would be charged based on a different measurement unit: containerships based on TEUs, bulkers based on deadweight tonnage capacity and tonnes of cargo carried, cruise ships based on berths, and LNG carriers based on cubic meters.
The proposed strategy for containership pricing exemplifies how the new scheme seeks to encourage larger vessel sizes by offering unit-cost savings. The structure is also designed so that the ACP and its customers share both the upside from high utilization and risk from low utilization.
As with the existing toll structure, the new structure would charge containerships based on both total capacity and loaded containers, making ballast transits less costly. But the new system would put even more emphasis on the utilization rate by reducing the portion of the tariff derived from total capacity and increasing the portion derived from loaded containers.
The ACP would also introduce a loyalty program for container line customers offering discounts for higher-volume users.
Source: IHS Maritime