L.A., Long Beach Port Leaders Approve Container Dwell Fee

TTI container terminal
TTI container terminal
Trucks at the Port of Long Beach’s TTI container terminal. Photo courtesy of Port of Long Beach.

Starting Nov. 15, ocean carriers could be penalized for allowing their import containers to linger at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Harbor commissioners at both ports on Friday agreed to enact a 90-day “Container Excess Dwell Fee” policy this month, one of several efforts to ease congestion brought on by record cargo volumes.

“This is the nation’s leading cargo gateway, and this crisis has national impacts,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “We need to take action to facilitate the rapid movement of cargo through the supply chain, and this plan will help.”

The seaports intend to bill ocean carriers $100 for every container that dwells at terminals beyond the allotted time – nine or more days if the import moves by truck and six or more days if it moves by rail. In both instances, each container is subject to a daily fee of $100 for every container in the penalty zone.

“Our objective with this program is not to generate revenue,” said Los Angeles Harbor Commission President Jaime Lee. “Instead, we need our supply chain partners to make operational changes that will reduce dwell times, clear our terminals and make room for the ships waiting to enter our port.”

Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said the port plans to take data snapshots daily to see how long imports sit on its terminals and if progress on clearing the docks improves, he may consider delaying fee implementation past Nov. 15.

“Our goal is to see significant improvement on our docks so that we don’t need to administer any fees,” he said.

By Karen Robes Meeks