- The Suez Canal Authority presented a new pay-in-advance toll-for-credit scheme to Maersk Line, MSC and CMA CGM, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
- Under the new plan, frequent users of the canal would create toll payment accounts for up to 3-5 years' worth of passage, with the promise of a 3% credit each time the account is accessed.
- The idea comes at time when outside revenue to Egypt has shrunk due to diminished tourism and competition from the recently improved Panama Canal, according to the Journal.
The fact the Suez Canal Authority offered the toll deal only to the main European shippers indicates a bid to retain market share of Asia-Europe trade as shippers look for the cheapest options. A 3% credit per passage could lead to massive savings for the three shipping lines.
Notably, though, the toll would exclude THE Alliance, composed of various Asian lines and major European shipper Hapag-Lloyd, which would perhaps drive the alliance to greater use of the Panama Canal. As the alliances receive clearance through April, and if this agreement takes hold, it will be interesting to watch whether the shippers shuffle routes to optimize shared costs.