Egypt consider implementing of new toll system for the vessels passing through the Suez Canal. The authority offer to the largest shipping operators discount for advance payments, seeking to raise money from the struggling industry and start repay the investment of almost 10 billion USD for expansion of the canal. The new toll system was proposed to the largest container shipping operators, providing levy charges three or five years in advance in exchange for 3% discount on the fees. The talks with Maersk Line, MSC and CMA CGM are going well and the agreement for new toll system might enter into force at the start of 2017, according to the Suez Canal Authority Chairman Mohab Mamish.
“They have proposed a new payment method and presented it to us, and we are looking at it now”, said the spokesman of Maersk Line. The shipping line confirmed about the talks in relation with the new toll system.
Representatives of the major container shipping companies are meeting this week at a conference in Copenhagen. It was unclear if the potential discounts on offer might increase the traffic of the canal. However, during the last 6 months, there are constant discount for container ships passing through the canal, which aim to increase the traffic volume and to start repayment of the investment. The last discount expires on December 31, so probably the authorities are looking for the option to keep such lower toll rates at lower level.
Suez Canal is one of the main sources of foreign currency and direct cash flows to Egypt. The country is struggled to overcome a crippling dollar shortage due to decrease of tourism since 2011.
Egypt seeks to recoup the billions dollars investment spent on completing the expansion of the new Suez Canal, which provided an opportunity for simultaneous passage of ships in both directions. According to calculations of the Suez Canal Administration, the expansion was to ensure the growth of fees by 260% to 13 billion USD until 2023.