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New Panama Canal toll structure will enter into effect in April 2016

New Panama Canal toll structure will enter into effect in April 2016
Panama’s Cabinet has officially approved a proposal to modify the Panama Canal tolls structure, following a recommendation from the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) Board of Directors.

The newly approved toll adjustments for all market segments are scheduled to enter into effect on 1 April 2016.

The accepted proposal, which modifies the pricing structure for most canal segments, will better facilitate the canal's goal of providing outstanding service and reliability to the global shipping while allowing the ACP to safeguard the competitiveness of the waterway, ACP said in a statement.

The approval follows more than a year of informal consultations with representatives from various industry segments, an open call for comments, and a public hearing to solicit industry feedback on these changes.

"I am pleased we will be able to provide a more bespoke pricing solution for our customers; one that recognises their various needs and requests, while still appreciating the value and reliability provided by the route," said ACP administrator and ceo Jorge L. Quijano.

Most segments will now be priced based upon different units of measurement. For instance, dry bulkers will be based on deadweight tonnage capacity and metric tonnes of cargo. LNG and LPG vessels, will be based on cubic metres and tankers will be measured and priced on Panama Canal Universal measurement system (PC/UMS) tonnes and metric tonnes of cargo. Container ships will continue to be measured and priced on TEUs and passenger vessels will continue to be based on berths or PC/UMS.

In addition, a new Intra Maritime Cluster segment has been created which includes local tourism vessels, marine bunkering and container transhipment vessels that do not compete with international trade.

The tolls restructuring will be implemented alongside a customer-loyalty programme for the container segment, a first for the ACP. Frequent container customers will now receive premium prices, once a particular teu volume is reached.

"The ACP deeply values the relationships we share with our customers.  As we prepare for the completion of the Canal's expansion programme, we look forward to continuing to provide the same superior reliability, service and value to our customers, as well as now accommodate longer, wider ships and the new LNG segment," said Quijano.