Port of Los Angeles. Photo by John Schreiber.
Port of Los Angeles. Photo by John Schreiber.

With backlogs of aging cargo on local docks now significantly eased, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach announced Friday they will end the so-called Container Dwell Fee on Jan. 24.

The fee was announced on Oct. 25, 2021, as cargo backlogs piled up and affected the nation’s supply chain. But the fee was never assessed, as shippers were able to accelerate getting their long-dwelling cargo off the docks.

The ports on Friday announced that, since the program was approved, they have seen a combined decline of 92% in aging cargo on docks.

“This fee was conceived as an incentive to ease congestion, keeping imported goods flowing to stores across America,” Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero said in a statement. “Measured by this standard, we can all appreciate the policy’s success, and best of all, the fee was never implemented. We thank cargo owners and terminal operators for working with us to make operations more efficient, and of course dockworkers for their dedicated labor.”

Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka added, in a statement, “I said when we launched this program that I hoped we would never collect a dime because that would mean that containers were moving off our docks. And that’s exactly what occurred. I’m grateful to the cargo owners and all our waterfront workers for all their successful efforts to improve the efficiency of our operations.”

The fines — had they been implemented — would have begun at $100 per container, increasing by $100 per container each day. Containers set to be transported by truck and rail would have incurred fines if cargo remained in port for nine days or more.

But in numerous periodic announcements since October 2021, the ports repeatedly postponed implementing the fees, before Friday saying the fees will end altogether next month.

Neither port plans to extend the program beyond Jan. 24, officials said.

The fee policy had been 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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