Container Cargo Ship at the Port of Los Angeles. Photo by John Schreiber.

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach Friday postponed once again implementing a fee on companies whose import containers linger at marine terminals, with the assessment now potentially taking effect, if necessary, next Friday.

The Container Dwell Fee has been delayed numerous times due to progress in reducing the number of containers at the terminals — with the ports reporting Friday a 50% combined decline in aging cargo on the docks since the fee was announced.

Over the next week, port officials will monitor and reassess the fee’s implementation.

The implementation has been deferred every week since Nov. 22. The ability to levy the fee expires on July 28, unless extended by the Long Beach and Los Angeles harbor commissions.

The fee is one of several efforts aimed at speeding the processing of cargo at the San Pedro Port Complex to eliminate a backlog of ships trying to deliver merchandise. Port of Los Angeles officials said when the policy was announced that about 40% of import containers were idling at terminals for at least nine days.

The fines, if implemented, would begin at $100 per container, increasing by $100 per container each day. Containers set to be transported by truck and rail will incur fines if they remain at the port for nine days or more.

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.

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