Cheap bunker prices are tempting hard-pressed shipowners to send ships “the long way round” and avoid expensive Suez and Panama Canal transit fees.
In response, the authorities of both canals are offering owners inducements to keep using their respective waterways.
Today, for example, the Suez Canal Authority said that “as an encouragement to owners and operators of containerships coming from ports at the East Coast of America and heading to ports at the South and South East of Asia to pass their vessels through the Suez Canal” it had decided offer rebates of between 60% and 75% on certain routes.
(You can access the relevant Suez Canal Authority circular HERE)
Meantime, the Panama Canal said yeterday that “to help mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” it was making a temporary adjustment to its reservation system that will provide customers with added flexibility and relief.
Effective May 4, 2020, the waterway will implement temporary changes to the requirements for the placement of booking guarantees and advance payment of reservation fees when the reservation is confirmed. Customers will be allowed to place the guarantee for the payment of the booking slot prior to the vessel initiating transit.
“The Panama Canal has served customers for over a century’s worth of ebbs and flows, and so we know the importance of adaptability and partnership during this time,” said Panama Canal Administrator Ricaurte Vásquez Morales. “The months ahead will be challenging across our industry, but we aim to help reduce the financial burden for our customers today so we can all stand ready for a brighter future tomorrow.”
The measure will be in place for 120 days, lifting on September 1, 2020.