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 communicate 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 since 2011.