August 9 - The Cabinet Council of the Republic of Panama has officially approved a proposal to modify the Panama Canal tolls structure, following a recommendation from the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) Board of Directors.

An official statement says that the approved proposal will better facilitate the canal's goal of providing outstanding service and reliability to the global shipping and maritime community, while allowing the ACP to safeguard the competitiveness of the waterway.

The approved tolls modifications are scheduled to go into effect on October 1, 2017, at the beginning of the canal's financial year.

Container/breakbulk vessels - formerly classified as part of a market segment called 'others' - will be reclassified into the general cargo segment, resulting in more attractive tariffs for shipping lines operating this type of vessel.

For the containership segment, the approved tolls structure offers more attractive rates per loaded containers on the return voyage, applicable only to Neopanamax vessels deployed on the canal route in the head and back haul legs, and when the utilisation rate of the northbound transit is higher or equal to 70 percent, and the time lapse between the northbound and the southbound transit is not greater than 28 days.