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Asian shipowners concerned and disappointed over canal toll changes

Suez Canal Authority
The Asian Shipowners’ Association’s (ASA) membership hit out at recent proposed toll changes at both the Panama Canal and Suez Canal.

At a meeting on 18 April 2022, ASA delegates noted the significance of the Suez and Panama canals as critical global infrastructure and called for the canals to avoid “sudden and significant” changes in tolls and charges.

“Delegates expressed their confusion against new surcharges introduced on 1 March 2022 with only 48 hours prior notice, then to be revised on 1 May 2022 by the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), which resulted in roughly a 7 to 20% toll increase for many types of vessels, in addition to a 6% tariff hike for most types of vessels, implemented on 1 February 2022,” said ASA.

Uncertainty around how surcharges operate could undermine the stability of the Canal, said the committee, calling for the industry to express its concerns to SCA.

ASA delegates some positives in the Panama Canal’s new toll system proposed earlier in April 2022 by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP). Delegates said the ACP had given sufficient notice and a formal consultation period, but were concerned that significant toll hikes could affect the long-term viability of the canal, “as the mark-up for some types of vessels may exceed 100% in 2025, compared with the current toll.”

The ASA meeting also discussed the review of anti-trust exemptions for carriers on the US, a policy delegates said was “indispensable for the healthy development of the liner shipping industry and the maintenance of a reliable service to the entire trading community.” ASA will continue its efforts to maintain anti-trust exemptions for liner shipping agreements.

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