The Panama National Customs Authority proposal to tax port users for cargo X-ray machines costs is causing controversy in Panamenian ports
The National Customs Authority (ANA) is keeping on the table its proposal to establish a fee for the use of X-ray equipment for cargo. But it has not yet defined the amount of the fee, says a 'The Bulletin Panam' report.
Since early this year the ANA, in conjunction with the Panama Chamber of Shipping (CMP) have been meeting to discuss the proposal of charging for this service, but the chamber’s position has always been that this is a national security issue and should be absorbed by the state.
In the recent past, Maersk Line made a statement on the Government’s intention to establish this charge, pointing out that such a charge would diminish competition in Panama at a time when many ports in the region are investing heavily to position themselves as transshipment “hubs” before 2014.
The largest container shipping company in the world said they do not know of any transshipment center that currently charges for the use of x rays.
The major Mexican ports, such as Manzanillo, Mexico, located on the Pacific and one of the main gateways for containers destined for the US, does not charge for the use of X-rays of transshipment containers.
Neither does Cartagena, Colombia’s main Caribbean port terminal competing with Colon for transshipment cargo.
Also in early 2012, the CEO of Panama Ports Company (PPC), Luca Versari, questioned the government’s intention to establish such charges for the use of X-rays on transshipment cargo because it is a safety feature that needs to be resolved by the State, which he thought should provide the necessary resources to one of its major institutions such as the ANA, an organization that in 2011 collected $1.2 billion. However, it requested a budget of $70 million and only $26.3 million was approved.