Asian ship owners urge long-term Panama Canal fee cuts
The Asian Shipowners’ Forum said Wednesday the Panama Canal should consider reducing its fees on a long-term basis to account for the current economic downturn and its effect on shipping.
The member association of the ASF met this week in Tainan, Taiwan, and released a statement on a wide-ranging list of shipping topics.
'The ASF noted that on April 30, the Panama Canal Authority had, in light of the current economic crisis, announced short-term reduction of charges,' the ship owners' forum said. 'As the effective period of the reduction expires on Sept. 30, the ASF urged the (canal authority) to institute a more meaningful reduction of a longer duration.'
During the meeting, members touched on the torrid time liner carriers are experiencing.
'As the shocking effects of the financial tsunami have clearly extended to the transpacific and intra-Asia trades, the CEOs of Asian container lines were urged to handle the situation in a rational and patient manner to ensure the sustainable operation of the liner business in these trades and to keep customers well-informed of the difficult situation faced by carriers,' the ASF said.
About piracy in the Gulf of Aden, the ASF said 'a long-term solution to the problem may only be achieved by addressing the root cause of piracy in Somalia and by encouraging the formation of a 'Malacca Strait' style of multilateral cooperation amongst the littoral states.'
Finally, the Indian National Shipowners Association has joined the ASF, bringing the number of national association members to eight — the others are in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the ASEAN Shipowner Associations.