The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have approved a new emergency fee on ocean carriers for import containers that linger in marine terminals.
The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners approved the “Container Excess Dwell Fee” by unanimous vote on Friday. The Port of Los Angeles’ board voted 4-0 to approve an identical measure.
The fee is designed to speed the flow of cargo from terminals amid unprecedented congestion dating back to summer 2020 and exacerbated by peak holiday shipping season and crowded ports. Congestion at docks is delaying the berthing of vessels, leading to record numbers of ships waiting off the coast and consumers and businesses across the country left waiting for shipments.
Under the new policy, the ports will charge ocean carriers for containers sitting over a grace period. The fee is $100 per container, which increases in $100 increments per day until the container leaves the terminal.
For containers lingering past the grace period, the charge can really stack up. A presentation by the Port of Long Beach shows the charges to be cumulative, so by day 3 the charge reaches $600, day 4 is $1000 total, and so on.
The program, as approved, will be implemented November 1, but the fee will not be assessed until November 15.
The fee applies only to import containers that fall into one of two categories; those scheduled to move by rail and those scheduled to move by truck. For containers scheduled to move by truck, the fee applies to every container dwelling nine days or more. Rail containers are charged after six days or more.
Ultimately, the ports have the authority to not start charging the fee, should there be progress by the November 15 date. The Port of Los Angeles said it was 90-day policy.
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