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BUNKER INDEX :: Price Index, News and Directory Information for the Marine Fuel Industry
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Panama toll increase ‘simply unacceptable’

25 May 2012 15:31 GMT





The International Chamber of Shipping has sent a strongly worded letter to the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), describing plans to increase tolls by up to 15 percent as ‘simply unacceptable’.

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) is the principal international trade association for shipowners, with member national associations from 36 countries representing all sectors and trades and over 80 percent of the world's merchant fleet.

Last month, the ACP published plans to increase its tolls despite having assured clients in January that there would only be one small adjustment to tolls before completion of the expansion project in 2014.

ICS Secretary General, Peter Hinchliffe [pictured}, said there was ‘no pressing need’ for the increases given that 'canal revenues are currently very healthy'.

Hinchliffe pointed out that while the Panama Canal is an important national asset to Panama, it also remains an essential part of international public infrastructure crucial to the smooth operation of the global supply chain and should ‘take this important public role into account when setting tolls’.

“While the ACP proposal analyses the impact of the toll rises on the competitiveness of commodity trades, no account is taken of the impact on shipping companies themselves…..many of whom are still forced to run ships at a loss in order to remain in the market,” said Hinchliffe.

“We therefore request that the ACP rescind the current plans for increases in the next two years and concentrate on developing a toll structure that can be to the benefit of all parties to be introduced in late 2014,” he added.






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