Refrigerated cargo and passenger vessels will have rate increases take place on October 1 while container ships will be subject to the May 1 increase. On that date, as well, a toll of $54 per TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) will become go into effect for the container ships and other vessels with on-deck container carrying capacity. General cargo, dry bulk, tankers and vehicle carriers are those who won't experience the toll increase until October.
On average, there will be 10% increases per year for the next three years. Although the Canal had adjusted the rates for container ships and those with on-deck container carrying capacity in 2005, this represents the first increase for others in four years. “With the new pricing system, the Canal is charging its customers a price closer to the value of services provided,” says Canal Administrator and CEO, Alemeán Zubieta. The Canal pints out that shippers moving from the U.S. Gulf Coast to Asia save 10 voyage days by using the Canal. Vessels transiting the Canal from the West Coast of South America to the U.S. East Coast save between 8 and 16 voyage days.
To simplify and streamline assessment of tolls, vessels will now be charged by their maximum displacement draft. Previously they were charged based on arrival displacement. There have been some changes in administrative linguistics and grammar as well as changes in the way passenger vessels will be charged.