Panama Canal Program Incentivizes Environmental Efficiency of Ships

Suezmax Aegean Unity new panama canal locks
The MT Aegean Unity becomes the first crude oil tanker to transit the Panama Canal’s new locks, August 18, 2016. Photo: Panama Canal Authority

The Panama Canal Authority has launched a new program that incentivizes its customers to use more energy efficient ships when using the waterway.

The incentive, known as the Environmental Premium Ranking, is tied into a new customer loyalty program of sorts offering discounted tolls for customers who use the Panama Canal more often. The environmental ranking allows qualified customers to improve their position with the canal’s Customer Ranking System, which is taken into consideration when booking for transit through the Panama Canal.

Correction: Environmental Premium Ranking has no connection to the loyalty program under the new tolls structure, nor is it a discount. The tolls structure is separate from this new incentive that is part of the Environmental Recognition Program. The new incentive only allows Panama Canal customers to improve their position in the Customer Ranking, which is taken into account for transit reservations. 

The Environmental Premium Ranking awards customers with a certain number of additional points to improve their position in the Customer Ranking based on indicators such as the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI), the Environmental Ship Index, or use of LNG fuel.

The incentive will become effective for transits beginning January 1, 2017.

“With the addition of the Environmental Premium Ranking to our Recognition Program, we’re rewarding those who make conscious efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and invest in technology that will make shipping even more efficient,” said Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano. “We look forward to working with our customers and industry partners to further bring value to their businesses and to our route, all while reinforcing commitments to sustainability and environmental protection.

To participate in the Environmental Premium Ranking system, customers must deliver documentation supporting the environmental efficiency rating at least 96 hours prior to the vessel’s arrival to Canal waters.