Panama Canal has received an approval from the Cabinet Council of the Republic of Panama to modify its tolls structure.

The approval was granted following a recommendation from the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) Board of Directors, and will allow the canal to offer improved services to the global shipping and maritime sector.

It will also enable the ACP to defend the competitiveness of the waterway.

The new toll structure is set to come into force by 1 October, and is expected to provide more attractive rates per loaded containers on return voyages for the containership segment.

However, this will only be applicable only to Neopanamax vessels deployed on the Canal route in the head and back haul legs.

"The new toll structure is set to come into force by 1 October, and is expected to provide more attractive rates per loaded containers on return voyages."

It will also apply when the utilisation rate of the northbound transit is higher or equal to 70% and the time-lapse between the northbound and the southbound transit is not greater than 28 days.

The ACP's toll proposal had initially set 25 days as the maximum time lapse for the return voyage, but this time frame was later extended to 28 days following a review of the comments received during the consultation period.

Additionally, the new structure modifies the tolls charged to liquefied natural gas (LNG) and liquid petroleum gas (LPG) vessels. The new tolls will be set at the levels presented in the original tolls proposal.

This decision was taken after a review of the impact of the proposed increases in the supply chain and final user base.

Container / breakbulk vessels are to be recategorised into the general cargo segment after being initially categorised as part of the 'others' market segment, which is expected to lead to more attractive tariffs for customers in this category.