Asian owners call for extended Panama Canal rate cuts

Asian shipowners meeting this week have called on the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) to extend its temporary fee cuts. In a statement the Asian Shipowners’ Forum ASF notes that on 30 April 2009 the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) had, in light of the current economic crisis, announced short-term reduction of charges.

The ASF notes that the effective period of the reduction expires on 30th September and urges the ACP to “institute a more meaningful reduction of a longer duration”. At its 18th in Tainan, Taiwan, the ASF welcomed the Indian National Shipowners Association as its latest member. There are now 8 members of the ASF, which are the shipowner associations of Australia (ASA) China (CSA), Chinese Taipei (NACS), Hong Kong (HKSOA), India (INSA), Japan (JSA), Korea (KSA) and the Federation of ASEAN Shipowner Associations (FASA), which comprises the shipowner associations of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Among other subjects covered the ASF comments: “The worldwide economic turmoil has contributed to the dramatic fall in shipping markets that has resulted in increasing difficulty in the employment of seafarers due to ships being withdrawn or laid up. The ASF recognises the benefit of maintaining employment, and therefore considered that employment conditions of seafarers should be consistent with the economic situation of the country or region where the seafarers are domiciled. Members of the ASF agreed to maintain as much as possible recruitment and training initiatives despite the present market conditions.”

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