New container fee planned by Port Authority of NY and NJ

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has announced a new “container imbalance fee” which it said would minimize congestion due to excess empty containers.

The container management fee will target empty containers being stored in the port for long periods. It will come into operation on September 1st, pending a mandatory federal 30-day notice period. The fee is intended to reduce the number of excess empty containers dwelling at the port and free up capacity for full containers waiting to be picked up by impatient cargo owners.

The port noted that it had experienced a throughput increase of nearly 12% year on year in the year-to-date, and of 34% compared with the same period in 2019, pre-Covid.

The new fee will be assessed on a quarterly basis. Ocean carriers’ total outgoing container volume must equal or exceed 110% of their incoming container volume during the same period, or they will be assessed a fee of $100 per container. Incoming and outgoing containers include both loaded and empty containers, excluding rail volume.

Fee proceeds will be used to offset the costs of providing additional storage capacity, and other expenses incurred because of the glut of empty containers.

The Port Authority of NY and NJ has repurposed 12 acres within Port Newark and the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal for the temporary storage of empty containers and long-dwelling import containers. It said that it was in the process of negotiating or investigating the possibility of additional storage space.

The Authority has published the tariff language detailing the new container imbalance fee on its website for a mandatory 30-day public comment period. The Port Authority said that the fee would be reassessed when the global supply chain crisis eased, with a review no later than September 2023.