Due to the historic congestion at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, they will begin charging ocean carriers a daily “emergency fee” of $100 per container for truck-bound containers sitting at terminals nine days or more and rail containers sitting for three days or more. This fee will go into effect on November 1st and will increase by $100 per container per day beyond the allotted times.
This new policy is intended to help the backlog of vessels at anchor, which has been exceeding 70 per day. “We must expedite the movement of cargo through the ports to work down the number of ships at anchor,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “If we can clear this idling cargo, we’ll have much more space on our terminals to accept empties, handle exports, and improve fluidity for the wide range of cargo owners who utilize our ports.”
Adding a financial cost to extended dwell times will create an incentive to clear terminals. “With the escalating backlog of ships off the coast, we must take immediate action to prompt the rapid removal of containers from our marine terminals,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “The terminals are running out of space, and this will make room for the containers sitting on those ships at anchor.”
It is unknown whether carriers will absorb the fees or pass the charges on to retailers and importers, who are already paying a lot of storage charges for containers that they can’t move due to truck, rail, or chassis shortages, as well as warehouse and labor constraints.
The two ports will reinvest the collected fees for programs designed to enhance efficiency, accelerate cargo flow, and address congestion impacts.