Toll revenues grow, but other sources of income decline at the Panama Canal.
BY CHRONICLE STAFF
The Panama Canal Authority (ACP), the government agency that operates the 48-mile (77-kilometer) waterway, saw total revenues fall slightly last year, its annual report shows.
ACP revenues in the fiscal year 2009, ending in September 2009, reached $1.96 billion, a 2.2 percent decline from fiscal year 2008.
The relatively small decline comes despite the United States, the top user of the canal, suffering from its worst economic crisis since the recession of the 1930s.
”Fiscal year 2009 was a period of global downturn as a result of the recession in the United States, Japan, United Kingdom and the Eurozone,” the ACP said in its annual report.
Toll revenues grew by 9.1 percent to $1.4 billion, but canal transit service fees fell by 11.4 percent to $379 million, while other revenues (which includes power sales and interest income) declined by 44.6 percent to $144.6 million, according to a Latin Business Chronicle analysis of the ACP's annual report.
Net income also fell - by 2.0 percent to $1.0 billion.
Despite the global crisis, which affected international trade, the canal only saw small declines in traffic during fiscal year 2009. The total number of transits reached 14,342, which was a 2.4 percent fall from fiscal year 2008.Their combined tonnage fell by 3.3 percent to 299.1 PC/UMS (Panama Canal / Universal Metric System).
Toll revenues grew despite the fall because the ACP implemented new tariffs.
The 96-year old canal is undergoing a $5.2 billion expansion program that will allow bigger ships to transit the waterway, starting in 2014.
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