Panama Canal Proposes Toll Revamp

Miraflores Locks of the Panama Canal is seen in Panama City, Panama
Miraflores Locks of the Panama Canal in Panama City, Panama. (Nicolo Filippo Rosso/Associated Press)

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The Panama Canal Authority proposed a comprehensive restructuring of its toll system April 1 that would increase rates charged on cargo such as vehicles, oil and gas, and soybeans that cross the waterway as ocean shippers rake in record profits.

The changes would reduce the current structure to fewer than 60 tariffs from 430 now and focus on vessel capacity and fixed tariffs per transit. Ships also would pay different fees depending on which sets of locks are used, according to a statement from the canal authority.

A liquid petroleum gas carrier transporting 46,000 tons of propane through the canal’s expanded locks, for example, would pay $5.20 more per ton by 2025. Oil tankers carrying 450,000 barrels of crude through the original locks would see an increase of 20 cents per barrel, according to the statement. Car carriers, containerships, chemical and LNG tankers and vessels carrying bulk such as grains and coal also would see higher tariffs.

The canal authority will hold a public hearing on the changes May 20 in Panama and consider feedback sent to by May 17. Once approved, the new toll structure would be gradually implemented from January 2023 to 2025.

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