The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) announced today that it will continue until April 30, 2010 a program that provides short-term cost reduction and greater flexibility to its Reservation System. The program, which consists of temporary measures designed to help mitigate the impact of the economic crisis on the Canal’s clients, was the result of consultations with customers and was initially introduced June 1, 2009 for four months ending September 30. Upon request of its customers and the Round Table of International Shipping Associations, the ACP has agreed to extend the program.
“The ACP is committed to keeping an open dialogue with its customers through these uncertain economic times,” said ACP Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta. “Demonstrating sensitivity to the industry’s needs, listening to our clients’ concerns and doing what we can to help mitigate the impact of the economic crisis on them, is part of our responsibility as a global service provider. Our customers find value in the temporary measures, and for this reason we are extending them.”
The two primary components of the temporary measures are:
* A redefinition of ballast (ships without passengers and cargo) for full container vessels transiting the Canal; and,
* Modifications to the Reservation System to increase flexibility and reduce fees.
I. Temporary Redefinition of Ballast for Full Containerships
The temporary redefinition of the ballast concept for full container vessels allows a ship that carries 30 percent or less of its capacity to be charged the ballast rate of $57.60 per TEU, $14.40 less than the $72 laden (ships with cargo) rate.
II. Temporary Modifications to the Reservation System
* Reservation Fee Reduction:The reductions in the base reservation price for all segments that use the ACP’s Reservation System will continue. As an example, the base reservation price for a super vessel, with a beam greater than or equal to 100 feet and a length greater than or equal to 900 feet, is $5,000 less per transit than the rate that was in effect last May.
* Late Arrival Fee Reductions:Vessels that fail to arrive on-schedule have the option to pay a reduced charge to keep the reservation and transit that same day. This temporary measure provides shipping lines with greater flexibility.The percentage reduction varies depending on the vessel’s arrival time.
* More Flexibility for Slot Substitutions:Canal customers will continue to be able to request slot substitutions without additional costs up to 30 days before the date of a vessel’s transit. Previously, customers could make such requests without an additional charge if that request was made at least 60 days prior to the date of transit. This temporary measure grants shipping lines more flexibility for slot substitutions, allowing them to replace one vessel for another with similar dimensions.