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Panama Canal bows to market concerns finally

Panama City: The Panama Canal Authority, or ACP, will adopt a temporary plan to reduce tariffs in the short term starting June 1 to help the international maritime industry deal with the current economic crisis, canal officials said.

The plan, approved last week by the ACP board of directors, will be effective until Sept. 30 of this year and at the same time will provide the reservations system with added flexibility, a communique from canal authorities issued Thursday said.

The plan includes two components: the redefinition of "ballast" (freighters without passengers or cargo) for container carriers going through the canal, and modifications to the reservations system to increase flexibility and reduce tariffs.

In the first component the definition of "ballast" is modified for container-carrying vessels to allow those carrying 30 percent or less of total capacity a fee of $57.60 per TEU (a 20-foot-long container).

The tariff for loaded ships will be $72 beginning last Friday, according to a previously approved scale.

With regard to the reservations system, a reduction will be applied according to the size of the ship for all segments that use this method.

Consequently the basic reservation charge for a super freighter 100 feet wide or more and 900 feet long or more will be reduced to $5,000 per transit.  [04/05/09]


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