Maersk warns that LA, Long Beach ports may implement long-delayed container dwell fee

Denmark-based shipping company Maersk said this week that it foresaw the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach implementing the container dwell fee that was announced last October, but which had since been delayed week after week, with the operators claiming that the threat of the fees had succeeded in reducing the average dwelling time,

However, Maersk said in a rate announcement that the probability that the fee would be implemented “has risen significantly this month.”

Lars Jensen, CEO at Danish container shipping consultancy firm Vespucci Maritime, said on LinkedIn that “dwell conditions appear not to be improving in the slack season”, noting that dwell time has been gradually worsening since January.

The container dwell fee policy was developed by the Southern California ports in coordination with the Biden-Harris Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force, the US Department of Transportation and multiple supply chain stakeholders. The yet-to-be implemented penalties would see ocean carriers charged for each import container scheduled to move by road, beginning after nine days of dwell time (six days for containers moving by rail), the carriers would be charged $100 per container per day.

Maersk said that “the relevant Port Authority will be charging the fee and submitting the bill to Ocean Carriers to act as collection agents to charge and invoice those with a cargo interest in the laden import containers.” Maersk said that it would “collect any amounts due from cargo owners (or their designated demurrage payer) before releasing the cargo.”

Maersk has developed an off-dock drayage program for long-dwelling containers in LA and Newark, and said that it was considering similar programmes in other locations.