Panama Canal Authority intends to modify its toll structure, which will lower the cost for boxships using the neo-panamax locks for southbound transits and will raise the costs for LPG and LNG carrier transits, as well as will reclassify container and break bulk ships. The local authorities will start 30-day formal consultation period with industry stakeholders and discussions with customers. After that proposals will be open for public comment until July 3 to be followed by a public hearing on July 5. The target date for implementing the modifications of the toll structure is October 1, 2017.
“It was deemed necessary to provide additional incentives to the container ship segment — the largest user of the expanded Canal — to revise the tolls for liquefied petroleum gas and liquefied natural gas vessels, and to reclassify container and break bulk ships”, said the official statement of Panama Canal Authority.
Under the new toll system, the return trip cost for a very large gas carrier (VLGC) loaded with an 84,000 cbm cargo will increase by 29%, to 455,080 USD. Assuming a 46,000 ton cargo with a volume of 84,000 cbm, analysts estimates the cost of a round-trip shipment from the US to Asia-Pacific will increase by 2.23 USD per ton. This amounts to less than 0.6% of the delivered Asia Pacific LPG price as of May 12.
The Panama Canal is an artificial 48-mile waterway in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean. The canal cuts across the Isthmus of Panama and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. Since then the huge expansion project has been completed, with the inauguration of the new third locks occurring in late June 2016, a change allows much larger vessels than before to transit the inter-oceanic waterway.