Los Angeles, Long Beach Ports Delay Container Dwell Fee to Feb. 4

Port of Long Beach
Port of Long Beach
A Port of Long Beach container terminal. Photo via POLB.

A fee that charges ocean carriers for imports that sit at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles too long has been given yet another brief reprieve.

The nation’s two busiest seaports announced that they will wait to implement their Container Dwell Fee until Feb. 4.

The ports said they have witnessed a combined 67% drop in lingering cargo since Oct. 25, when they announced the fee, prompting leaders to hold off on enacting the fee for weeks as it reviews the dwell data week after week.

The temporary fee calls for ocean carriers to be fined $100 for every import lingering longer than nine days at marine terminals, with daily $100 increments per container until it departs the ports.

The Pacific Merchant Shipping Association’s most recent report on container dwell time indicated some improvement.

According to the association, the average dwell time was 7.7 days for imports that hang out at terminals before they leave by truck, lower than the 8.4 days the previous month. Meanwhile, dwell time for train-bound containers stayed the same as the previous month with an average of 3.5 days.

“While container dwell time did not worsen in the month of December, it was still high,” PMSA Government Affairs Manager Jessica Alvarenga commented. “For reference, the average container dwell time for local containers leaving on trucks was under three days prior to the Covid-19 related surge. Despite the trend of high import dwell times, marine terminal operators and dock workers continue … to handle all of the incoming cargo, processing record volumes of cargo through the San Pedro Bay ports.”

By Karen Robes Meeks