Suez Canal Authority in Port Said (Photo: Al-Ahram)
Egypt's Suez Canal Authority (SCA) on Thursday announced it would raise toll fees for all vessels passing through the strategic waterway between 2 and 5 per cent starting on 1 May 2013, in an effort to boost government revenues currently suffering from an ailing economy.
A 5 per cent fee hike will be imposed on oil tankers and vessels transporting petrochemicals, the press statement revealed, while containers and car carriers' toll fees will increase by 2 per cent, with a 3 per cent increase on all other vessels.
The SCA stated that this year's decision to raise fees had been taken based on recent studies into the prospects for global economic and trade growth.
"Usually, decisions to raise toll fees are announced on 31 December of each year. The decision coming one month late [this year] means there was a change of plans; the government might have taken the decision to raise much needed public revenue," the SCA's Seood Ahmed told Ahram Online.
In 2012, transit fees were raised by 3 per cent for all ships passing through the canal. The SCA justified the move at the time by noting that fees had not been raised previously for a three-year period.
The Suez Canal is a major source of foreign currency for Egypt and is essential to global trade.