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Panama Canal proposes new toll structure

The Panama Canal has published a proposal to modify its current tolls structure for the major shipping sectors.

The proposal covers dry bulk, passenger, containership and vehicle carrier and ro-ro segments, tankers, chemical tankers, LPG and LNG vessels, as well the the intra-maritime cluster (local tourism segment) and minimum tolls (small vessels).

The announcement Friday 14 June marks the beginning of a 30-day formal consultation period for industry feedback, which will close on 15 July 2019.

"With this proposal, we aim to better serve the global maritime industry," said Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano. “Our proposed modifications will increase transparency and flexibility, among other improvements, to ensure the Panama Canal remains competitive and optimal for the industry today and moving forward.”

For the dry bulk segment, the proposal matches the tolls charged to neo-panamax vessels carrying iron ore with the tolls assessed for grains and “other dry bulk” cargoes, as well as a tariff increase for neo-panamax dry bulkers transiting in ballast.For the containership segment—the main user of neo-panamax locks—the proposed toll offers more attractive rates for customers who benefit from the Panama Canal Loyalty Programme by adding new levels with reduced rates in the capacity charge for shipping lines deploying between 2m to 3m teu, and additional reductions for lines deploying an incremental over 3m teu.

The incentive implemented in the last toll modification of fiscal year 2018 for total teu loaded in the return voyage (TTLR) will remain in effect.For the vehicle carrier and ro-ro segment, the proposed modifications include—for the first time--a new tariff category or range precisely designed for neo-panamax vessels to account vessels sizes and capacity. Additional modifications for this segment include slight increments in tolls tariffs for panamax-sized vessels, as well as minor adjustments based on vessel size ranges.Toll structures for tankers, chemical tankers, LPG and LNG vessels remain unchanged, but tolls adjustments are proposed to more closely align with the value of the route.

Lastly--and based on comments submitted by clients during the 2017 public consultation and hearing process--the Canal proposes to review the rates charged to vessels carrying containers on deck, which do not belong to the container shipping segment, to allow for differentiated charges for containers that are empty, dry or refrigerated.

All interested parties are invited to participate in the consultation process as well as the public hearing to be held in Panama City, Panama, on July 24, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. (local time). In accordance with established rules, the Panama Canal will consider all correspondence received by 4:15 p.m. (local time) on July 15, 2019, as well as comments and opinions presented during the public hearing.

After a careful evaluation and analysis of the comments received, and once any pertinent changes are incorporated in the proposal, the Cabinet Council of the Republic of Panama will officially approve the modifications. The date for implementation of the modifications to the tolls structure is planned for January 1, 2020.

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