Passing through the 5th driest year during the last 70 years, Panama Canal has received 20% lower rainfall in comparison to the all-time average.
The new fee will give a boost to the Canal’s water levels, as without it they are projected to drop to levels that would affect the Neopanamax and Panamax Locks.
The freshwater surcharge concerns all vessels over 125 feet in length overall (LOA) that transit via the canal, with a fixed charge of $10.000 for a passage.
An additional variable fee ranging between 1% to 10% of the vessel's toll will be applied, based on Gatun Lake levels during the time of transit. For instance, if the lake has a higher lever, the percentage will be lower.
Panama Canal also decided to cut daily slots to 27, as each ship will have to pay the booking fee 48 hours after the booking period.
For the records, regular vessels with a beam of up to 90.99ft have been allocated six slots and those ones with a beam of up to 107ft have 13 slots. On the other hand, Neopanamax will still have eight slots.
A handling service fee will be imposed to all the ships when entering the system. Specifically, vessels that are 91ft in beam and above will have to pay $5.000 and $1.500 for vessels with over 125ft in length but lower than 91ft in beam.
Apart from the freshwater fees, Panama Canal further adopted water-saving measures, like the suspension of power generation at the Gatun Hydroelectric Plant and the use of water-saving basins at the Neopanamax Locks, implementing a long-term solution to water.