Venezuela’s Ministry of Transport has announced that shipping companies using the country’s port services must either make payments in Petro, the country’s state-issued cryptocurrency, or Euros.
Analytics company S&P Global Platts reports that an official announcement from the Venezuelan transport ministry states, “Rates [shipping fees] must be paid to the National Institute of Aquatic Spaces (INEA) in Euros, or the equivalent in the multi-currency system adopted by Venezuela (the Petro).”
Services include piloting, custody, towing, inspection and refloating. Many of these services are mandatory for internationally registered commercial vessels that use Venezuelan ports.
Earlier this year, the INEA instructed all Venezuelan shipping companies to pay for similar fees at foreign ports using the Petro.
American lawyers, meanwhile have warned all foreign shipping firms trading with Venezuela should “exercise caution,” following an American ban on the Petro issued by President Trump earlier this year.
Freehill Hogan & Mahar said, “Ship owners should be certain that any remittances made through the American financial system in connection with their Venezuelan trade are not being used to purchase Petros. United States banks will scrutinize all financial transactions related to Venezuela with great care, particularly those involving shipping.”
Venezuela has recently announced that has launched a bi-national fund with Palestine, and that it has contributed Petro funds worth USD 1.2 billion to the initiative.