The cost of doing business is expected to go up after at least three shipping companies announced they will be increasing shipping fees to the port next month by more than 100 percent in some cases.
At least one of the shipping lines, Crowley, has blamed the impending increase on increased costs at the Antigua Port Authority.
“Due to increased costs at the Port of Antigua, Crowley Caribbean Services announces an increase on the Antigua Port Charge to be effective November 4, 2018, as depicted below,” Crowley stated, detailing the new fees.
For example, the cost to ship equipment greater than 40 feet will jump from US $160 to US $329, or the cost to import a vehicle not exceeding 700 cubic feet will now cost US $155, an increase from the original US $80.
But, both the Chairman of the Antigua and Barbuda Port Authority, C. Mary-Claire Hurst and the Manager, Darwin Telemaque said the port authority has not increased its tariffs.
The port manager added that he has asked Crowley shipping for an explanation, which he expects would be given when he meets with the company’s executives at the Caribbean Shipping Association meeting, which begins today in Panama.
A businessman who wished to remain anonymous, alerted OBSERVER media to the pending increases, having been informed of them by his shipping company. The man said he is stunned by the exorbitance of the planned price hikes.
The new schedule cost will apply to both imports and exports from the United States of America, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Canada, the British Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic, Turks and Caicos, Cayman Islands, Bahamas, the Winward Islands, and Guyana.
Businessman, Leslie Salmon said the new set of rates come on top of increases in freight fees recently announced by the shipping companies. He said that both sets of increases will push up the cost of goods and services.
“When you go into the supermarkets, which is one of the businesses I’m in and the cost of goods going up sometimes the consumers will think more mark up is being made, but, what is happening is these imported inflations. I think that the government and we business people need to get together about how this is going to impact the economy,” he added.