There will be a new freshwater surcharge for ships using the Panama Canal because of changing rainfall patterns and historic low water levels in Gatun Lake.
The new fee goes into effect on February 15 and has no expiration date. It applies to all vessels over 125 feet in length and includes a fixed charge of $10,000 per passage plus a variable fee from a minimum of 1 percent to a maximum of 10 percent of the vessel’s toll depending on Gatun Lake levels at the time of transit.
Despite extensive water-conservation measures, last year’s rainfall was 20 percent below the historic average and the fifth driest year in the last seven decades.
The measure is one of several others being implemented to protect the supply of fresh water for shipping activity and human consumption.