Container dwell fees at POLA and Long Beach postponed for second time

The adjacent ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in San Pedro Bay have once again postponed the planned Container Dwell Fees. Its introduction will be reconsidered on November 29th.

The fee was originally intended to be introduced on November 15th, but was postponed once until November 22nd, and has now been postponed for a second time, with a vaguer prospect of it ever being introduced at all.

The San Pedro Bay ports said that progress had continued with the aim of moving containers off marine terminals. The planned introduction was announced on October 25th, giving three weeks’ notice. Since then the ports have seen a combined decline of 33% of cargo “dwelling” on the docks.

Under a temporary policy approved by the Harbour Commissions of both ports, ocean carriers could be charged a daily fee for each import container lingering for extended periods. For containers scheduled to move by truck, ocean carriers could be charged for every container dwelling nine days or more. For containers moving by rail they could be charged if a container has dwelled for six days or more. If charges ever are implemented, the fees would likely be passed on by the ocean carriers to the cargo owners.

The Port of Los Angeles numbers at the start of this week (November 22nd) showed 26,275 truck-bound containers staying in the port for nine days or more. Port of Long Beach had more than 18,451 local containers (waiting for trucks) and 306 rail-bound containers that had been on the docks for a period that would merit a fine.

Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero said that the port was “encouraged by the progress our supply chain partners have made in helping our terminals shed long-dwelling import containers. Clearly, everyone is working together to speed the movement of cargo and reduce the backlog of ships off the coast as quickly as possible. Postponing consideration of the fee provides more time, while keeping the focus on the results we need.”

Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said that there had been “significant improvement in clearing import containers from our docks in recent weeks”.