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New Panama Canal toll plan

Panama City: Panama Canal tolls will increase an average of 10% per year through 2009, announced the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) Friday. The ACP will hold a public hearing on its proposal on 14 March. According to ACP Administrator Alberto Aleman, the new prices will allow the Authority to make the planned investments and expand the capacity of the existing Canal through the construction of a third set of locks.

The container vessels will see hike at around 12% per year through 2009, while tolls on general cargo, bulk, breakbulk, reefers, car carriers, and tankers will also increase, with a different increase for each of these segments. Tolls on passenger ships over 30,000 gt will be assessed differently under the proposal, and will be charged per passenger berth rather than on the basis of PC/UMS tonnage, which is the rule at the ACP.

When the Canal expansion plan was first made public, users were informed that tolls could double from their current level by 2025, at an average rate of 3.5% per year. If that earlier statement is correct - and given the 10% per year increases through 2009 - it appears toll hikes are being front-loaded.  [05/02/07]

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