The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the principal
international trade association for shipowners, is voicing concern over plans by the Suez Canal
Authority (SCA) to hike tolls on May 1.
The chamber said "for all but the smallest ships, the Suez Canal toll increases range
from about 3 percent to 5 percent according to tonnage and ship type. These follow
across the board increases of 3 percent, which were implemented in March last
year despite industry protests."
The Website of Al-Ahram
, Egypt's largest newspaper, said increases amount to 5 percent on tankers and 2 percent for containerships and car carriers, and 3 percent for other types of ships. Tolls vary based on type of vessel transiting the waterway, how large it is, and whether it is laden.
The schedule of tolls
both new and current can be viewed on the Suez Canal Authority's Website.
Secretary General Peter Hinchliffe, said “Most international ship
operators are trading in the worst shipping markets in living memory due
to there being too many ships chasing too few cargoes. This is not the
time for the SCA to be announcing increases, which for some trades seem
very dramatic indeed, and which many shipowners will find impossible to
pass on to their customers.
that, with pressure on Egypt’s tourism and its other economic problems,
there is increased pressure on the SCA to maintain what is now the
country’s biggest source of foreign revenue," he added. "But the effect of these
increases will be to give a spur to those owners who may already be
considering the Cape route as a serious alternative.”
The chamber noted "The
route via the Cape of Good Hope is already becoming relatively less
expensive as many ships resort to slow steaming in an effort to reduce
costs and to deliver the reductions in CO2
emissions which are now
demanded by their customers.
"Moreover, the entrance to
the Suez Canal, via the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, is already
unattractive due to the continuing threat of Somali piracy, compounded
by instability in the Yemen. Recent events in Egypt, including riots in
Ismailia and Port Said, are generating concerns about the security of
the canal itself," ICS said.
“We are also disappointed by the
lack of consultation that preceded these increases,” Hinchliffe said.
“To the SCA’s credit, the canal has so far continued to function
smoothly. But ICS will be repeating its request for full and proper
consultation between the industry and the SCA, particularly whenever
toll adjustments are being contemplated.” - Chris Dupin