Following the proposal last week to establish a voluntary scheme to enable the industry to help contribute directly to the cost of maintaining navigational safety in the straits, the shipping community flatly rejected any mandatory notion and even reacted coolly to the voluntary one.But, as the piece goes on to nore, the real issue is how to "bell the cat" and find a way to impose fees that actually works. Background here.
The novel idea hit upon by Japan's philanthropic Nippon Foundation - virtually the sole third party contributor to navigational safety, having contributed more than US$120 million over the last 35 years - is to create a voluntary fund based on charging vessels according to their deadweight tonnage.
At one US cent per tonne, the fund would raise about US$40 million annually. To put this into perspective, a typical containership of 5,000 TEUs would be in the neighbourhood of 66,000 deadweight tonnes, which at US$0.01 per tonne would amount to a mere US$660.
Let's face it, this is peanuts. It's only slightly more than two tonnes of bunker fuel and significantly less than the S$5,600 this same vessel would pay in port dues to the Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore for a port call of less than 24 hours.
Shipping lines would probably pass this on to shippers anyway, meaning that consumers ultimately would pick up the cost, which by the time you broke it down to that bottle of wine you purchased at the supermarket, you would be paying probably less than one additional cent.