MPL begins collecting stevedoring fees in dollars

  • Maldives
PUBLISHED 03 April 2024

Maldives Ports Limited (MPL) has started charging stevedoring fees from ships in dollars.

Stevedoring fees are charged by ports to ships, taken from ship agents for loading and unloading containers.

The decision to collect the fee in dollars went into effect on 1 April. As such, the stevedoring fees for a 20-foot container is USD 195, and the fee for a 40-foot container is USD 211. This is the same fee MPL was taking for this service 12 years ago as well.

Until 2011, MPL charged fees from ship agents in dollars. However, due to changes in government policies at the time, the decision had been made to collect fees in Maldivian Rufiyaa.

Chief Financial Officer at MPL Mohamed Muizzu said that the decision to collect agent fees in dollars once more was made to help the company in sourcing dollars needed to fund large investment projects. He added that in the past, MPL obtained dollars through the government, but stated that it was no longer so easy. He said that once MPL begins charging fees in dollars again, the company would no longer be dependent on the government for dollars, and would be able to provide the government with dollars as well.

CFO Muizzu said that MPL would acquire about USD 25 million once they began charging the fees in dollars.

He said that ship agents are still charging traders in dollars for carrying containers. He added that in this case, there would be no harm in charging the agents to pay the fees to MPL in dollars without having to resort to black market currency exchange.

There are two main shipping agents in Maldives who operate in carrying containers. They are Maldives State Shipping (MSS) and Lanka Total Transport Solution (TTS).

"The result is that we will be contributing to government efforts to solve the dollar crisis," said CFO Muizzu. "Any dollars that we at MPL acquire will enter the country's banking system at the fixed rate of MVR 15.42. If other parties or members of the public get these dollars, they don't enter our banking system when they get converted to Maldivian Rufiyaa."