Auction system set up for Panama Canal slots
As demand for the Panama Canal continues to increase, booking slots to transit the waterway are becoming more difficult to acquire, so the Panama Canal Authority has made available an additional booking slot to canal customers through a standard auction process, PCA said in a statement Thursday.
Bids for the additional slot became available for auction April 1 for transits beginning on April 4. The new system will be available for a trial period of 60 days, PCA said.
The additional booking slot will be auctioned on days when basic slots for either supers (91 feet or more in beam) or regulars (less than 91 feet in beam) have been sold out. The authority will publish the initial or base price to be used during the auction, which is based on the previous month's maximum booking for each category. The winner of the auction is subject to pay applicable tolls, in addition to the auction bid. Moreover, the winner is subject to abiding by the same requirements as normal booking slots, such as arrival time.
'We've had competition each day for the additional slot since the auction process was introduced earlier this month,' Jorge L. Quijano, PCA maritime operations director, said in a statement. 'The booking slot provides another option to those with low customer rankings (customer ranking is based on the previous 12 months of transit and tolls history) looking to transit their cargo more expeditiously through our waterway.'
The auctioned slot system was thoroughly examined, tested and analyzed by the PCA for the past few months before it was introduced this April. It will help meet concerns expressed by customers that have difficulty acquiring booking slots, since they are not heavy users of the canal, therefore not ranking high enough to secure a normal booking slot. Otherwise, these customers would have to wait their turn to transit on a first-come, first-served basis.
For more information on the auction system, go to http://www.pancanal.com/eng/op/index.html.