Following the recommendations by Panamá Canal Authority Board of Directors, the Cabinet Council of Republic of Panamá officially approved the proposal to modify the Panama Canal toll structure.
A new toll regime was agreed upon after more than a year of consultations with industry segments' representatives, public hearing and open call for comments. The revised structure is expected to price each vessel segment on different units of measurement: LNG and LGP carriers, for example, will be based on cubic metre capacities; dry bulkers - on their DWT (deadweight tonnage) capacities; tankers - on PC/UMS (Panamá Canal Universal Measurement System) tons and metric tons for cargo. Container ships will continue to be based on twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).
There is no notable change in the toll structure for cruise vessels: tolls for passenger ships will continue to be levied based on PC/UMS or berths. A new Intra Maritime Cluster segment was created to include local tourism ships and other types of vessels that are not in competition with the international trades.
Cruise ships using the Panamax passage will be charged $138 per berth. Those using the brand-new post-Panamax locks will have to pay $148 per berth.
On April 28 the Panamá Canal widening project came to a new milestone after the installation of the last 16 floodgates for the new locks on Canal's Pacific side. These steel gates are manufactured by Fincantieri, Italy. The Panama Canal is now 85% complete, and 88% of all the required components are already installed.
On May 7, 2008, the cargo vessel MSC Fabienne set a record of being the ship that had so far paid the highest Panamá Canal toll - $317,142 for its passage. The record for the lowest paid toll was set by Richard Halliburton in 1928, who swam the Canal, paying just $0.36. Today, the current average tariff is $54,000 per vessel.
The new tolls are scheduled to come into force on April 1, 2016.