According to Section 11 of the Fairway Dues Act, the amount of fairway dues will be reduced if a ship is not fully loaded according to the particular loading capacity utilisation rate, which is calculated by comparing the combined total of cargo imported into and exported out of Finland.
Section 11 has been subject to considerable interpretation. It has been unclear, inter alia, whether Section 11 applies if there is no cargo onboard at all. On October 25 2016 the Supreme Administrative Court rendered the precedent (KHO:2016:159) that a ship with no cargo onboard is entitled to the loading capacity reduction. The court referred to the wording of Section 11, which states that the fairway dues for a cargo ship are reduced by 75% if the ship’s loading capacity utilisation rate is 15% or less. As reasonably argued by the shipowner, it would be absurd if only partially loaded ships were entitled to a reduction, not ships carrying no cargo at all.
Partner Matti Komonen from HPP Attorneys Ltd has written an update on the reduction of fairway dues and the Supreme Administrative court decision. The update titled “Ship carrying no cargo entitled to loading capacity reduction of fairway dues” has been published in the International Law Office’s newsletter.