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CMA CGM, new Panama surcharges

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MERSEILLE : CMA CGM is the first major carrier to announce a new surcharge on shipments going through the Panama Canal.

The shipping company has been forced to take this decision due to continuous capacity reductions announced by the Autordad del Canal de Panama to cope with the sea route’s on-going drought problems.

The company has informed its customers that the Authority recently announced that is reducing  daily transits to about half the normal number. This measure is to remain in force over the next three months. The limited capacity has already led to a major  bottleneck near the entrance to the Canal. As of 13th November, 123 ships were waiting to transit, notably more than the 90-vessel average recorded over the last few years.

According to the carrier, in the second quarter of 2023, despite a number of water conservation measures, the canal’s draft was reduced from 14.94 to 13.41 metres. Moreover, the lack of rainfall over the summer months forced the Panama Canal Authorities to limit the number of vessels transiting each day. As a result, as of 1st January 2024, booking windows for transit through the Neopanamax locks will be reduced by 3o%. The liner points out that these restrictions, combined with a canal tariff increase implemented earlier this year, are putting a strain on its operations.

CMA CGM has therefore announced that, as of 1st January, it will be applying a $150 per TEU Panama Adjustment Factor to its freight rates.

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