28 June 2012 21:43 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--The Panama Canal has delayed raising tolls on chemical tankers and other big ships for three months in response to objections by shipowners, the canal authority said on Thursday.
Higher tolls for chemical tankers, general cargo, dry bulk and other categories of large vessels were supposed to take effect next week, on 1 July.
But complaints from shipowners in May prompted the Panama Canal Authority to push back the new toll deadline until 1 October. Shipowners said there was no reason for the increases, which amounted to a 15% hike on some vessels.
Press spokesman Teresa Arosemena said there would be a 15-day period to submit further comments on the tolls, with the deadline set for July 12.
The canal authority has said it needs higher rates to stay competitive. It also needs more revenue to cover the canal’s $5.25bn (€4.2bn) expansion to accomodate larger vessels that is supposed to be finished by the end of 2014.
The US is the waterway’s biggest user, accounting for 65% of trade on the 50-mile waterway linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
($1 = €0.80)
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