LA, Long Beach Ports Again Delay Container Dwell Fee

Containers stacked on a ship at dock in the Port of Los Angeles. File photo via POLA.

As progress continues on efforts to remove older cargo from Los Angeles and Long Beach terminals, officials at the two seaports announced Oct. 21 that they will delay the start date to collect on their planned Container Dwell Fee to Nov. 18.

All year, both ports have been moving the date for implementing the fee, which would bill ocean carriers $100 for every import that lingers on their docks longer than nine days, rising in daily increments of $100 per container until it is gone from the terminal.   

After announcing the fee a year ago, both ports have since seen the amount of older cargo fall 69% in total.

If numbers continue to trend downward, executive directors at both ports may move the fee implementation date an additional month, the ports said.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles harbor commissioners have extended the fee program through Jan. 24. Long Beach harbor commissioners were expected to vote on a similar extension Oct. 24.

The fee was developed with the Biden-Harris Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force, U.S. Department of Transportation and those in the supply chain to combat the growing number of cargo containers taking up space at the ports, clogging terminals and keeping ships at anchor. 

The Pacific Merchant Shipping Association on Oct. 14 reported that the amount of time a container stayed on the docks before leaving by truck was 4.2 days on average in September, trimming the average by nearly a day from 5.1 days the previous month.

Also, the average dwell time for containers leaving terminals by rail was 15.5 days last month. While the average was high for rail-bound cargo, it’s an improvement from August with 16.5 days, PMSA said.

Meanwhile, ports across the country are also seeing some congestion and have enacted or are considering similar fees to incentivize quicker cargo movement.

By Karen Robes Meeks