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LA, Long Beach harbors will levy fee on delayed containers

Shipping containers resting at LA Port

By City News Services

Relieving backlog at local ports

The Los Angeles and Long Beach harbor commissions have voted to implement a “Container Excess Dwell Fee’’ on companies whose containers linger at marine terminals –one of several efforts to speed the processing of cargo at the San Pedro Port Complex and eliminate a backlog of ships trying to deliver merchandise.

Both commissions unanimously approved the new policy on Oct. 29, which will be in effect for 90 days.

The fines will begin at $100 per container, increasing by $100 per container each day.

“Starting Monday, we will be taking daily data snapshots of how long import containers sit on our container terminals,’’ said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka.

“If progress is being made clearing our docks, I have the discretion to delay the start of fees beyond Nov. 15. Our goal is to see significant improvement on our docks so that we don’t need to administer any fees.’’

Containers set to be transported by truck will incur fines if they remain at the port for nine days or more. According to the Port of Los Angeles, about 40 percent of import containers are idling at terminals for at least nine days.

For rail containers, fines will be assessed if they are at the port for three days or more.

“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.’’

Fees collected from the policy will be reinvested into programs that aim to enhance efficiency, accelerate cargo velocity and address congestion impacts.

The policy to implement fees was developed in coordination with the Biden-Harris Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Port of Long Beach and supply chain stakeholders.

President Joe Biden recently announced an agreement for both ports to operate around the clock to help speed the movement of cargo. Last week, Long Beach eased restrictions on the height of stacked cargo containers in hopes of allowing more container storage at the port and moving ships out more quickly.