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Transit Fees for the Panama Canal

By Sue Richards last modified Jun 02, 2009 05:00 PM

Published: 2009-06-02 17:00:18
Countries: Panama

Life has just (as of 19 May 2009) become more difficult for yachts wishing to transit the Panama Canal.

Citibank N.A. in Colon, to which you must pay your transit fee (minimum fee currently US$1,500 of which about $850 may be refunded) will no long accept payment by credit card.

It seems that the options for payment are to hire an agent, to pay by cash, or to have your bank make the payment by telegraphic transfer. We were quoted $750 for agent’s fees, which apparently includes all paperwork, provision of lines and tire fenders and the cost of the line handlers - but not the transit fee.

The thought of acquiring and carrying a large amount of cash in crime-ridden Colon does not appeal.

The instructions we were given to make a telegraphic transfer were to have our bank send the funds to Citibank N.A. New York ABA: 021000089 SWIFT: CITIUS33 for credit of Citibank N.A. Panama account number 10991266 beneficiary account number 0550305054 in the name of Autoridad del Canal de Panama, reference “skipper’s name”, “vessel name”, SIN number.

The SIN - Ship Identification Number - is provided by the admeasurer when he/she inspects your yacht.

The Canal Authority will not allow you to transit until they receive confirmation from Citibank that the funds have been received.

John and Jane

Noonsite note:

  1. Money transfers can not take place until the yacht has a SIN ID. This means for a first time transit there will be a delay as money can only be transferred after the inspection by the Canal Authorities, and a transit cannot take place until the funds are on the Canal Authority's account.
  2. Agency fees depend on the Company you use and what can be negotiated between the parties. If you use an agent, funds can be remitted to the agent in advance, who can make necessary arrangements with the Bank and the Canal Authorities.
  3. Remitting the money in advance to the Canal Authority is ok as long as it is not the first transit and the boat in question has a Canal ID Number (SIN).
  4. When paying Citibank, or during inspection, it will be asked where the refund of the Guarantee Deposit should be sent. Normally this is done about 3 weeks after the transit date.

Our thanks to Karsten Staffeldt for confirming the above points.

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