Maersk Line, one of the world’s biggest container shipping entities is increasing shipping charges prices on Latin America routes by 30%.
The increase, announced May 17, is ascribed to high fuel costs, the price of steel, ports, and containers.
In the last five years oil prices have increased by 250%, while Maersk Line rates have dropped over 10% in Latin America compared to its competition, said Robbert Jan van Trooijen, manager of Maersk Line for Latin America.
In a telephone interview with La Prensa he said the trucking industry is losing money, since in the past five years the cost of capital is nearly 10% higher and the return on investment, estimated at 2%.
Although Maersk is one of the main users of the Canal, ports and railways, the impact of rising rates will affect Panamanian exporters who use containers to send their products abroad.
"The consequence of this increase will be a decrease in the competitiveness of our products in the international market," said the president of the Panamanian Association of Exporters, Juan Planells.
The exports of goods in Panama is very small and anything that affects transportation costs affect the trade balance, he said.
To rising costs is compounded by the accumulation of problems that have local exporters with logistics services to send their products abroad.
Max Garcia, head of Proluxa, company that exports concentrated vinegar and other products, said he recently lost a client because the shipping company that promised to deliver a container to Canada in 10 days, took a month.