The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) will postpone price increases on canal transit fees which were due to come into effect this month
The revised rates for the canal’s transit reservation system were scheduled to take effect on 15 April. The proposed changes represent a minimum cost increase per transit reservation of US$20,000 (up 57%) and a maximum cost increase of US$58,500 (up 167%).
ACP has linked the increased fees to changing supply and demand conditions for the service it offers and said the change in the implementation date will provide the maritime industry more time to prepare for the adjustment to the new booking fees.
The decision follows a joint letter sent by industry bodies the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), Asian Shipowners’ Association (ASA), and European Community Shipowners’ Association (ECSA), expressing concerns over the speed of price increases.
In a letter dated 17 March 2021, shipowners expressed concerns over the fee hike, stating that the ACP’s start date was too short for the maritime industry and canal users to be able to adjust.
The revised rates will now take effect from 1 June 2021 allowing shipowners more time to prepare for the adjusted booking fees.
ICS secretary general Guy Platten said, “We are reassured to see that ACP has responded to industry’s calls to postpone its proposed transit reservation price increases until 1 June, giving industry time to fully prepare for these changes. The increases represent a significant rise in cost, especially considering the ongoing economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We appreciate that the fee change is designed to adapt to changing supply and demand for the Panama Canal’s service and we look forward to establishing a productive dialogue with the ACP to develop a long-term pricing strategy to provide industry with predictability on transit cost. We hope to be able to hold a virtual meeting with the ACP to discuss and gain further clarity on these issues.”
ASA secretary general Yuichi Sonoda added, “ASA would like to express our gratitude to the ACP for taking consideration of the maritime industry and postpone its implementation dates from 15 April 2021 to 1 June 2021. ASA is appreciative that the ACP will continue to review the voices of canal users in their future canal operations and management, based on a higher economic stability and transparency.”
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