Price war at sea
Shipping companies are seeing a decrease in the volume of maritime cargo and their earnings, and have begun to pressure the Panama Canal concerning the toll.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
The Panama Canal Authority has set a price increase schedule for the Canal toll for 2009 and 2010, and the large shipping companies, which are experiencing a decrease in earnings due to the drop in maritime trade, are looking for ports where they can operate a lower cost. Ports on the eastern United States could be an option for ships coming from Asia and eventually more profitable than going through the Panama Canal.
The arrival of new competitors with frequencies between Colombia and Central America has generated a reduction in rates, favoring customers.
After two years of full competition in Costa Rica, insurers are keeping in place aggressive pricing tactics and incentives in the battle for customers.
ICS member companies fear a further negative impact from the effects of the global economic crisis, if Panama applies a toll hike from July 1.
Compared to the 2007 record of 8 billion tons in transports, global maritime commerce fell substantially in 2008, dragged down by the crisis.
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