Loss Prevention 23 Feb, 2023

Panama Canal – New “Disruption Charge” Tariff Implemented by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP)

Dean Crossley
Dean Crossley
Loss Prevention Manager

The Club's correspondent, C Fernie & Co S.A., has advised that effective on 01 January 2023, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has implemented a new tariff item known as the "Disruption Charge". The new tariff's design addresses the impact of disruptions caused by weather events, accidents, and other unforeseeable circumstances that affect the efficiency of canal operations. 

The Disruption Charge will apply to vessels that cause disruptions to the normal transit schedule of the canal, resulting in delays or other operational inefficiencies. The new tariff item will be charged in addition to the regular transit fees based on vessel size, type, and cargo. The new and revised tariffs can be found here.

According to the ACP, the Disruption Charge will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, considering the impact of the disruption on canal operations and the duration of the delay. The charges will be calculated based on a fixed rate per ton of cargo or vessel displacement and capped at a maximum amount.

The ACP notes that the Disruption Charge are part of a broader effort to ensure the efficient and reliable operation of the canal, which is critical to global trade. The canal, which connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, is one of the world's most important shipping routes, handling over 14,000 transits annually.

The implementation of the Disruption Charge has been met with mixed reactions from industry stakeholders. Some have welcomed the new tariff item to encourage vessel operators to take greater care in their operations and mitigate the impact of unforeseen events. However, others have expressed concern that the charges may unfairly penalize vessel operators for circumstances beyond their control.

In response to these concerns, the ACP has emphasized that the Disruption Charge are intended to be a fair and transparent means of addressing the impact of disruptions on canal operations. The ACP has also noted that it will work closely with vessel operators to minimize disruptions' impact and ensure that they are handled promptly and efficiently.

Overall, the implementation of the Disruption Charge is expected to have a significant impact on vessel operators using the Panama Canal. As global trade continues to grow, the efficient operation of the canal will remain a key factor in ensuring the smooth flow of goods and services between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Accordingly, the ACP is confident that the Disruption Charge will help ensure this critical shipping route's long-term viability and sustainability.

Members requiring further guidance should contact the Loss Prevention Department.