New Toll Structure Reflects Value of the Route and Better Serves Customers
Rewards Loyalty and Creates New Market Segments
PANAMA CITY, Panama, January 5, 2015 – The Panama Canal Authority (ACP)
announced today a proposal for a new toll structure, following more than a year of informal
consultations with representatives from various industry segments.
The ACP Board of Directors approved the proposal on December 24, 2014. Starting
January 5, 2015, the ACP is inviting formal comments on the proposal. A public hearing
will take place on February 27, written comments must be received by the deadline of
February 9, 2015 at 4:15 p.m., local time. Those interested in delivering remarks at the
public hearing have until February 9 to announce their interest to participate in writing.
The adjustments -for all market segments, except for the new Intra Maritime Cluster
Segment- are scheduled to begin in April of 2016.
“The ACP thoroughly analyzed various alternatives and held conversations with the
maritime industry for over a year. The proposal, in its current form, safeguards the
competitiveness of the waterway, charges a fair price for the value of the route and
facilitates the Canal´s goal of providing impeccable service to the global shipping and
maritime community,” said ACP Administrator/CEO Jorge Luis Quijano.
The proposed restructuring calls for each segment to be priced based upon different units
of measurement, while aligning with customers’ needs and requests, and modifying pricing
for all Canal segments. For instance, containers will be measured and priced on TEUs, dry
bulkers will be based on deadweight tonnage capacity and metric tons of cargo, passenger
vessels will be based on berths, LNG will be based on cubic meters and tankers will be
measured and priced on Panama Canal tons and metric tons.
The new structure will apply to the existing Canal as well as the new lane of traffic when
the expansion project begins operation in 2016. The new locks will allow shipping lines to
transit the Canal with larger ships, providing greater economies of scale. Moreover, the
expansion will open new global shipping routes and allow the transit of non-traditional
commodities through the waterway, such as Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).
The last tolls modification was put into effect in 2012-2013 for dry bulk vessels, tankers,
chemical carriers, gas carriers, vehicle carrier/Roll-on/Roll-off, general cargo and other
vessel types segments. Container, reefer and passenger tolls have remained unchanged
Differentiated Units of Measure
Please refer to the ACP’s website for details: http://www.pancanal.com/
Loyalty Program for Containerships
For the first time, the ACP is proposing a customer-loyalty program for the container
segment. Frequent container customers will receive premium prices, once a particular
TEU volume is reached. The proposed tolls include significant reductions in the capacitybased
charge, and price differentiation based on vessel size ranges. With this framework,
the ACP shares with its customers the risks associated with fluctuating economic
conditions and lower-utilization return voyages.
New Trade for the Panama Canal – LNG
The proposed tolls structure includes tolls for LNG vessels, a new trade for the Panama
Canal. Currently, LNG vessels cannot transit through the waterway due to their beam
dimensions, which are too wide to fit the existing locks. The proposed unit of measurement
for LNG vessels is the cubic meter, which is widely used in LNG shipping and will ease the
calculations of tolls for new customers to the Panama Canal. The new toll structure will
also provide an incentive for the new LNG segment, where customers that use the same
vessel for a roundtrip voyage through the Canal will have the option of receiving a special
ballast fee, if the transit in ballast is made within sixty days after the laden transit was
The proposed structure provides for differentiated toll rates for bulk carriers carrying
grains, coal, iron ore and other drybulk cargoes. These rates have been designed to
encourage the deployment of larger vessels through the waterway. Dry bulk vessels
transiting the Panamax locks will be charged a capacity price based on the vessel’s
deadweight tonnage. Dry bulk vessels transiting through the new locks will use a capacity
price based on the vessel’s deadweight tonnage and a cargo charge based on the amount
of cargo on-board the vessel in metric tons.
Tankers transiting the Panamax locks will be charged a fixed price based on the Panama
Canal Universal Measurement System (PC/UMS) tonnage. Tankers transiting the new
locks will be applied a capacity price based on PC/UMS tonnage and a cargo carried
pricing scheme based on metric tons. Reduced ballast rates will be provided in the tanker
segment to attract vessels on their return voyage.
The proposal substitutes PC/UMS with cubic meters, the widely used industry standard for
the transportation of liquefied gases in bulk, such as propane, butane and ethylene.
Vehicle Carriers and Roll-on/Roll-off Vessels
The Panama Canal ton PC/UMS is maintained as the unit of measurement. The proposal
incorporates vessel utilization as a factor in the determination of tolls.
The proposal includes a differentiated tolls system based on berths, that varies depending
on the locks in which the vessels are deployed. Panamax-sized cruise ships will pay $144
per berth, while ships deployed through the new locks will pay $154 per berth.
General cargo, Reefer and Other
The PC/UMS tolls will continue to apply, regardless of the locks system used.
In addition, the ACP’s proposal includes new toll rates for local canal tour vessels,
bunkering service vessels and local container transshipment service vessels, to promote
the growth of these activities in Panama. Tolls for this segment will become effective on
April 1, 2015.
“The ACP strives to continually improve its customer service. Providing reliable, safe and
efficient service in one of the world’s critical trade routes is our mantra,” added Quijano.
“This singular focus on quality and customer service ensures that our clients receive the
value they seek in using the ‘All-Water Route.’ Moreover, the alignment of price with value
helps the Canal maintain its competitiveness, continually improving its service
responsiveness while charging a fair market price.
About the Panama Canal Authority (ACP)
The ACP is the autonomous agency of the Government of Panama in charge of managing,
operating and maintaining the Panama Canal. The operation of the ACP is based on its
organic law and the regulations approved by its Board of Directors. Please refer to the
ACP’s website: http://www.pancanal.com/ or follow us on Twitter @thepanamacanal.