Port not responsible for impending increases – Telemaque

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Darwin Telemaque, Port Manager, has shed light on the charges that shipping lines announced will be increased starting on November 4.
Speaking with OBSERVER media from the Caribbean Shipping Association meeting in Panama, he said that in 2017, the companies imposed what they call a port surcharge, and it is those rates that are going up next month.
“It has nothing to do with the local agents, it has nothing to do with the Port Authority. This is revenue for the lines. They can increase it, they can reduce it and in 2018 they chose to increase it, we cannot tell them not to,” he stated.
“We can seek to ask them to reduce it because of its impact, that is just us saying please help us. But it is a private business and the shipping lines decide they have limited competition or they could band themselves together under the ship owners association, and come up with a unified position that they are going to increase rates to Antigua.”
Over the weekend, OBSERVER media broke the news that Tropical Shipping, Seaboard Marine and Crowley Maritime were increasing what they termed, the Antigua Port Charges, by as much as 100 percent in some cases, from next month.
Initially there was some confusion, even among the business community, as to whether the planned increases originated from the Port Authority.
Telemaque explained that the Authority is legally unable to increase the port fees without the engagement of Parliament or the government.
“We have had no such discussion. We have made no plan, we have had no indication. My chairman who is here with me and her board members, along with the minister of the port have never been approached by the port management to discuss import of port charges,” he said.
In fact, according to Telemaque, the port has maintained the same charges with the lines for the last 32 years.

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