Every day at the Panama Canal, critical services are performed by tugboats, linehandlers and locomotives, securing and guiding vessels into the locks. These and other marine services are somewhat behind-the-scenes but they play an integral role in ensuring that each vessel has a safe, reliable and efficient transit.

As the popularity of Panamax vessels has increased, marine services have grown in importance. Since these Panamax vessels are 106 feet wide and the locks are 110 feet wide, state-of-the-art equipment and highly trained personnel are essential to usher these vessels through the waterway. Nearly 50 percent of Canal transits are Panamax vessels.

Today, due to rising operating costs brought about by fuel hikes, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) announced revised fees for tug, locomotive and linehandling services to begin March 1. This decision was made by the Republic of Panama’s Cabinet Council, upon the recommendation of the Panama Canal Authority’s Board of Directors.

Over the past eight years, the Canal has spent $1,329 million in significant investments in these areas through the acquisition of a new fleet of state-of-the-art tugboats, a new generation of locomotives and other improvements. The money from the adjusted fees will help the Canal to continually invest in these critical areas.

Rates for tug services will increase 8 percent; rates for linehandling services will rise 7 percent.  Additionally, a $300-per-wire fee will be charged for ancillary locomotive services, up from a $200-per-wire fee (wires are attached to the locomotives to ensure that the vessels stay centered as they transit through the locks).

Other Marine Services
Regarding visibility requirements on container vessels, additional costs are incurred when a vessel notifies the Canal less than 48 hours prior to its arrival that it intends to load exceeding Canal standards. Vessels that exceed ACP visibility requirements, will now apply a rate of $4,000 when the information is submitted at least 48 hours prior to its arrival and a rate of $8,000 when the information is provided less than 48 hours prior to its arrival.

New nominal fees related to other marine services which have not been updated for years, such as admeasurement, transit vessel inspection, safety and security, launches and Automatic Identification System (AIS) rentals, will increase 7 percent on average.

For more information on these increases, please visit the ACP’s Web site: www.pancanal.com. Please refer to Marine Notice to Shipping N-1-2008, page 18.