SHIPOWNERS will soon be paying more services they require when ships transit the Panama Canal. The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) says rates for tug services will increase 8% and those for line handling services will rise 7%. Additionally, a US$300-per-wire fee will be charged for ancillary locomotive services, up from the current $200. Wires are attached to the locomotives to ensure that the vessels stay centred as they transit through the locks.`

The ACP says the increasing are necessary due to rising operating costs brought about by fuel hikes. The increases come into effect o 1 March 1.

Over the past eight years, says the ACP, $1,329m has been spent on buying a new fleet of state-of-the-art tugs, a new generation of locomotives and other improvements.