The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has announced that it will postpone price increases on canal transit fees which were due to come into effect today.
The announcement follows a joint letter sent by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), Asian Shipowners’ Association (ASA), and European Community Shipowners’ Association (ECSA), expressing concerns over the speed of price increases that were expected to begin from 15 April 2021.
The proposed changes, representing a minimum cost increase per transit reservation of $20,000 – up 57% – and a maximum cost increase of $58,500 – up 167%, will now start on June 1.
On 13 April 2021, the ACP announced the postponed date for the new booking tariffs. This change in the implementation date will provide the maritime industry more time to prepare for the adjustment to the new booking fees.
ICS Secretary General Guy Platten said, “We are reassured to see that ACP has responded to industry’s calls to postpone its proposed transit reservation price increases until 1 June, giving industry time to fully prepare for these changes. The increases represent a significant rise in cost, especially considering the ongoing economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We appreciate that the fee change is designed to adapt to changing supply and demand for the Panama Canal’s service and we look forward to establishing a productive dialogue with the ACP to develop a long-term pricing strategy to provide industry with predictability on transit cost. We hope to be able to hold a virtual meeting with the ACP to discuss and gain further clarity on these issues.”
This announcement comes as a relief to the shipping industry, which has been navigating the crew change crisis and other COVID-19 pandemic-related disruptions. The shipping industry commends the ACP’s decision and welcomes ongoing communication on issues central to preserving the global supply chain.
Panama Canal is one of the world’s busiest shipping routes; nearly 14,000 transits were made last year.