Panama Canal Authority Postpones Revised Tolls until October

The Board of Directors of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has published a revised tolls proposal that defers the implementation date of new Canal tolls to October 2012 and October 2013.

The ACP announced in April its intention to adjust tolls to bring them closer to the value of the route for certain market segments, to redefine some segments and to adjust minimum tolls. After a 30-day public consultation period, the ACP conducted a hearing on May 23. The April proposal has been slightly modified. At the request of the industry, implementation of the new charges has been postponed from July 2012 to October 2012, giving the industry additional lead time before implementation of the new tolls as well as providing an additional three months before the second step of increase in 2013. In addition, the revised proposal eliminates the proposed container/breakbulk segment. Container/breakbulk vessels will continue to be classified as part of the segment known as others.

The revised tolls adjustment will apply only to the following market segments: general cargo, dry bulk, tanker, chemical tanker, LPG, vehicle carrier and ro-ro and the segment known as others. Due to this modification, the ACP is reopening the issue for public comment and will consider additional input, suggestions and feedback from interested parties over the next 15 days.

After the ACP’s Board of Directors reviews the comments received, it will make a final decision and submit its recommendation to the Cabinet Council of the Republic of Panama for its final approval.

The official proposal can be accessed at www.pancanal.com.

Significant elements include the following:

• New Segments: The revised proposal increases the number of segments from eight to ten by Panama Canal vessel type. It also breaks down the tanker segment into three distinct segments and incorporates the roll-on/roll-off vessels into the vehicle carrier segment. Once approved, the Panama Canal market segmentation scheme will include the following segments: full container, reefer, dry bulk, passenger, vehicle carrier and ro-ro, tanker, chemical tanker, LPG, general cargo and others.

• Price Proposal: Effective October 1, 2012 and October 1, 2013, respectively, the ACP proposes to increase the tolls for the following segments: general cargo, dry bulk, tanker, chemical tanker, LPG, vehicle carrier and ro-ro, and the segment known as others. The remaining segments -container, reefer and passenger - will not be adjusted at this time, nor will the price per TEU for containers carried onboard a vessel. Additionally, there will be changes to tolls applicable to small vessels based on vessel length, to incorporate adjustments not previously considered.

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