Home » Breaking News, Maritime » Asian shipowners oppose Panama Canal toll hikes

The Asian Shipowners’ Forum (ASF), supported by the Japanese Shipowners’ Association (JSA), expressed opposition to the proposal to  raise the Panama Canal toll, which it said were made without public consultation and at a most inappropriate time.

“Under the current economic situation, the newly proposed toll increase would be detrimental to the shipping industry,” the ASF said in a statement, as it urged the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) to withdraw its proposal to increase tolls in 2012 and 2013.

It also asked the authority to “maintain a close and interactive dialogue with the shipping industry to ensure that toll adjustments would be reasonable, transparent and gradually implemented.”

The ACP has announced plans to boost tolls in July this year and again next year as well as to modify the toll structure.

“Given the importance of the Panama Canal as an international public infrastructure vital for efficient operation of the global supply chain, the notice period for the proposed toll increase given by the ACP was too short,” the ASF statement said.

It also said the proposed toll increase “was unilaterally formulated without any form of consultation or dialogue with the shipping industry and the ASF is of the view that this may inhibit business planning which could possibly lead to reduction in the total revenue received by the ACP.”

Japanese shipowners have also lambasted the proposed toll hike. In a letter dated May 17, the JSA said it was “deeply disappointed” to learn of the “last-minute” proposal to increase the canal tolls considering the current downturn in the shipping industry and the lack of dialogue between the industry and the ACP.

 

Photo: Jeffrey Beall

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