Containerships to pay less under new toll structure for Panama Canal
AMENDMENTS to the Panama Canal tolls structure could enable containerships to pay less, while LNG and LPG carriers pay more.
The new structure, which has been approved by Panama's government, is scheduled to start on October 1. It comes in response to a recommendation from the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) board of directors aimed at safeguarding the competitiveness of the waterway.
For the containership segment, the approved tolls structure offers more attractive rates per loaded containers on the return voyage - applicable only to neopanamax vessels deployed on the canal route in the head and back haul legs.
Furthermore, it is applicable only when the utilisation rate of the northbound transit is higher or equal to 70 per cent, and the time lapse between the northbound and the southbound transit is not greater than 28 days, reported Fort Lauderdale's Maritime Executive.
To promote the use of the services provided within Panama's logistics hub, any additional days that the vessel requires to perform port-related activities in the Panamanian terminals will not add to the 28-day period.
Container/breakbulk vessels will be reclassified into the general cargo segment, thus resulting in more attractive tariffs, ACP was cited as saying. Additionally, the new structure modifies the tolls for to the liquefied natural gas (LNG) and liquid petroleum gas (LPG) segments, reflecting the changing demand for the route.
The current Panama Canal toll structure, which has been in place since April 1, 2016, calls for each vessel segment to be priced based upon different units of measurement. For example, containerships are measured and priced on TEU, and LNG and LPG vessels are based on cubic metres.
The current structure also includes, for the first time, a customer-loyalty programme for the container segment, where frequent container customers will receive premium prices once a particular TEU volume is reached.