Ships returning to Asia from southern US east coast ports have two canal options from which to choose. In an effort to incentivise owners to select the eastbound route, the Suez Canal offers deep discounts on transit fees.
Egypt’s canal authority extends rebates to boxships on routes from the US east coast to compete against the Panama Canal.
THE Suez Canal Authority has extended a series of rebates designed to encourage boxship operators to utilise the waterway on the backhaul from the US to Asia.
For container vessels transiting from the US east coast ports north of Norfolk destined for Port Kelang or ports to the east, a 45% reduction will apply on normal canal fees.
For ships departing from south of Norfolk, a 65% discount will apply to destinations including and east of Port Kelang, and a 55% discount to ports including and east of Colombo up to Port Kelang.
The discount will apply until the end of June next year.
Discounts for dry bulk vessels transiting the canal en route between Australia and northern Europe, and from South Africa to the Mediterranean and Black Sea, have been extended until December 31.
The focus on containerships returning to Asia from southern US east coast ports is designed to encourage operators to use the Suez Canal rather than the Panama Canal. Both canals have both recently expanded, with the Panama Canal opening its new locks in June 2016 and the Suez Canal opening its new channel in August 2015.
The authority first offered a discount of 30% on canal fees for vessels using the Suez Canal from the port of New York and its southern ports heading to Asia, from March 7 through to June 5, 2016.
The discount was extended after an initial period, then increased in July. In January 2017 it was extended again and now appears to have become an almost permanent feature of the canal’s pricing policy.
By the end of November this year, there had been 5,218 containership transits of the Suez Canal, up 5.3% compared with the same period in 2017. The monthly average was up 4.5% to 474 transits.
Container vessels account for a third of all traffic through the canal.