Port of Los Angeles Extends Container Excess Dwell Fee to Spring

Port of Los Angeles terminal
Port of Los Angeles terminal
Activity at a Port of Los Angeles terminal. File photo courtesy of POLA.

Amid ongoing efforts to curb the number of aging containers at its docks, Los Angeles Harbor Commissioners on Thursday agreed to push the Container Excess Dwell Fee into the spring and extend the fee trigger for cargo leaving by rail.

Initially approved Oct. 29, the fee program was supposed to expire after 90 days, but the commission extended it to April 29 and altered it so that the fee would apply to an import leaving by train after nine days, the same amount of days for containers leaving by truck. Prior to the change, the fee applied to imports departing by rail after six or more days.

Meanwhile, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have been postponing the fee for weeks, most recently to Jan. 21, after seeing improvement in dwell times.

“Since the announcement of the fee in October, import cargo lingering nine days or more has declined by 60% at the Port of Los Angeles,” Port Executive Director Gene Seroka announced. “We’re very pleased with the progress, which is why the fee has not been enacted. Data will continue to be monitored daily as we work with our partners to find further efficiencies.”

The fee calls for ocean carriers to be charged $100 for every container lingering at terminals longer than the allotted time, with an incremental charge of $100 per container issued daily until it leaves a terminal. Revenue from the fees would pay for programs that improve cargo efficiency and lower congestion.

Before the pandemic, the average dwell time at the port before local delivery was under four days, while those leaving by trains stayed less than two days, according to port data.

By Karen Robes Meeks