Suez Canal Authority expects response to pre-paid fees plan next week

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The Suez Canal Authority expects to hear back from three major shipping firms shortly about its proposal to give discounts on fees for using the waterway if they are paid in advance, its chairman said on Wednesday.

“I will hear next week,” Mohab Mameesh told reporters on the sidelines of a maritime conference in Dubai when asked about the plan, confirming he was awaiting responses from Maersk, MSC and CMA

“Every company has to make a meeting for the board and to discuss with the lawyers and the finance team before it passes.”

Mameesh said earlier this week it had proposed offering ships using the canal a discount of between 3 and 5 percent on fees if they paid three and five years in advance, respectively, with the aim of introducing the system early next year.

The authority has been considering pre-paid systems for fees that would attract large sums of cash as a way to further draw in foreign currency to ease a shortage.

The canal is one of the main sources of income for Egypt, which is facing increasing speculation about whether it will need to devalue its currency, having already weakened it by almost 14 percent in March.

“We need the hard currency in advance and I think many navigation lines are thinking about it,” Mameesh said.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Writing by David French; Editing by Louise Heavens)