23 April 2020
Several governments in countries with state-owned ports announced economic support measures for companies in the maritime sector during the last days. These measures are often effected through reduction of port fees. The Chinese government decided that port construction fees shall be exempted for export and import goods. Until 30 June, the two government service charges for port operations, the cargo port service fee and port facility security fee, will be reduced by 20% respectively; and the compulsory emergency response service charge for non-tanker cargo ships will be cancelled. According to public information released by the Ministry of Transport, the port construction fee, cargo port service fee and port facility security fee for import and export goods will be exempted and reduced in stages, and it is estimated that the fee will be reduced by more than 7 billion Yuan in total. At the same time, the Ministry of Transport guided large port enterprises and shipping enterprises to appropriately extend the free storage period and reduce the cost of renting containers, to reduce the cost for enterprises by about 400 million Yuan. The total cost of these measures amounts to more than 1 USD billion. In Spain, the government organisation for state-owned seaports, Puertos del Estado, proposed a set of relief measures for port users, which includes a waiver of penalties to terminal operators for low occupancy levels, reduction of port fees as well as deferred payments of port fees. The proposal got approved by the Spanish Council of Ministers. The plan is expected to save port users 100 million Euro in total. The Panama Maritime Authority announced that the payment for anchoring passenger ships in ports, berths, anchorage areas and marinas in the nation’s territory, for ships registered under the Panamanian flag, is suspended for a period of ninety calendar days.