In response to the increasing capacity reductions, MSC has decided on a $297 per TEU surcharge on shipments transiting the Panama Canal. It followed the announcement on Tuesday by CMA CGM of a $150 per TEU ‘Panama Adjustment Factor’, valid from 1 January. MSC’s surcharge, almost double that of the French carrier, will begin two weeks earlier, on 15 December.

A statement by MSC read: “Despite several measures to conserve water, taken over the last months, lack of precipitation in the area is affecting the water level of the canal. Consequently, the canal authority has recently confirmed further restrictions regarding the number of vessels crossing the canal. These restrictions, combined with the increase of the canal tariff implemented earlier this year, are having a direct impact on overall MSC operations costs.”