Annual Panama Canal toll increases to fund the planned expansion

INTERTANKO has already expressed concern regarding the likely effect on the economics of future tanker transport via the Panama Canal, of expected canal transit toll increases in order to fund the planned expansion of the Canal.


The physical ship dimensions that could potentially be accommodated by the third set of locks will need to be viewed against projected transit cost for these bigger ships. Due regard should also be taken of the various commodities, the demand in different trades, and general adaptability to increased size of shipments.


According to information received, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) may increase tolls by some 3.5% per annum for the next twenty consecutive years. The overall impact of tolls and other expenses are, however, expected to equate to a 5% per annum increase for operators. It appears that the ACP will set different rates for different types of vessel, i.e. full container ships, tankers, general cargo, passenger ships etc., but details remain unavailable.


There should be a publication later this month from ACP announcing its intentions and setting dates for the necessary public hearings and formalities necessary under law. When work commences on the Canal there will be a great increase in work around and in the Canal operating area. It is logical to expect, therefore, that more delays to vessels may occur.


After completion of the 8-10 year project, the Canal will have the capability of handling post-panamax vessels, which will lead to a greater transit scheduling problem with post-panamax, panamax and smaller vessels all still having to funnel out of the same Canal departure points.


INTERTANKO will continue to work closely with its contacts, as the situation demands, and to keep members informed. INTERTANKO will furthermore maintain its close working relationship with the Worldscale Associations in order to ensure that the transit toll increases will be duly and timely reflected.


Contact: Gunnar A. Knudsen