After reviewing objections raised by shipping lines to the toll increases it proposed in April, the Panama Canal Authority postponed the first step of the two-step increase from July until October this year, the second step until October 2013, and revised the segments affected by the increases.
The canal authority said Wednesday the delay would give “the industry additional lead time before implementation of the new tolls as well as providing an additional three months before the second step of increase in 2013.”
Its revised proposal eliminates the proposed container/breakbulk segment. The authority said container/breakbulk vessels would continue to be classified as part of the segment known as others.
The canal authority proposes to increase tolls on general cargo, dry bulk, tanker, chemical tanker, LPG, vehicle carrier and ro-ro vessels and on all ships in the segment known as others.
The proposed toll increases will not apply at this time to full container, reefer and passenger vessels or to the charge per 20-foot equivalent unit of containers on board pure container ships.
The Panama Canal Authority said it is reopening the issue for public comment and will consider additional input, suggestions and feedback from interested parties over the next 15 days.
It said the proposed toll increases are designed to bring them closer to the value of the route for certain market segments, to redefine some segments and to adjust minimum tolls.
“The Panama Canal is the only organization in the shipping industry that consults with customers and interested parties prior to implementing any modification to its pricing structure,” Panama Canal Administrator Alberto Aleman Zubieta said. “This open and transparent process has given the ACP an opportunity to listen to the needs of its customers and to adjust its proposal accordingly.”
The canal authority said it would make a final decision and submit its recommendation to the Cabinet Council of the Republic of Panama for its final approval after its board reviews the comment received during the new review period.
The revised proposal increases the number of segments from eight to 10 by Panama Canal vessel type. It also breaks down the tanker segment into three distinct segments and incorporates the roll-on, roll-off vessels into the vehicle carrier segment. Once approved, the Panama Canal market segmentation scheme will include the following segments: full container, reefer, dry bulk, passenger, vehicle carrier and ro-ro, tanker, chemical tanker, LPG, general cargo and others.
There will also be changes to tolls applicable to small vessels based on vessel length and to incorporate adjustments not previously considered.
Contact Peter T. Leach at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @petertleach.