Panama Canal proposes to modify tolls system

The board of directors of the Panama Canal Authority (PCA) has approved a proposal to modify the canal’s toll structure and admeasurement regulations. Ships will be charged on average 8% more via the proposed changes. A public consultation period is now open until May 17, with a public hearing scheduled for May 20. The modifications are expected to go into effect on January 1, 2023.

The proposal establishes a simplified structure to reduce confusion and misinterpretations, and stabilise pricing, according to the PCA. The current structure has resulted in more than 400 toll rates. The changes are intended to significantly reduce that number.

The proposed changes introduce tolls that “reflect the value provided by the Canal to its users” and “will be set so that their relative value is maintained over time.”

Pricing bands are to be replaced by tariffs based on the locks used for passage, and the type and size of vessel.

The Panamanian authorities, seeking to up revenues at a time when most shipping segments have been enjoying greater fortunes, mirrors what has happened in Egypt this year where the Suez Canal Authority has pushed through two swift toll hikes.

Kim Biggar

Kim Biggar started writing in the supply chain sector in 2000, when she joined the Canadian Association of Supply Chain & Logistics Management. In 2004/2005, she was project manager for the Government of Canada-funded Canadian Logistics Skills Committee, which led to her 13-year role as communications manager of the Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council. A longtime freelance writer, Kim has contributed to publications including The Forwarder, 3PL Americas, The Shipper Advocate and Supply Chain Canada.
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