In an another effort to speed the processing of cargo and eliminate a backlog of ships trying to deliver merchandise, the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles announced Monday they will begin fining companies whose containers linger at the marine terminals.
According to a joint statement from the ports, containers set to be transported by truck will incur fines if they remain at the port for nine days or more. For rail containers, fines will be assessed if they are at the port for three days or more.
The fines will begin at $100 per container, increasing by $100 per container each day.
“We must expedite the movement of cargo through the ports to work down the number of ships at anchor,” Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said in a statement. “Approximately 40% of the containers on our terminals today fall into the two categories. If we can clear this idling cargo, we’ll have much more space on our terminals to accept empties, handle exports, and improve fluidity for the wide range of cargo owners who utilize our ports.”
Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero said “immediate action” is needed in response to the “escalating backlog of ships off the coat.”
“The terminals are running out of space, and this will make room for the containers sitting on those ships at anchor,” he said.
President Joe Biden recently announced an agreement for the ports to both operated around the clock to help speed the movement of cargo. Last week, the city of 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.
According to the ports, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, containers for local delivery sat at marine terminals for less than four days, while containers set to be carried by trains remained for less than two days. But those numbers have “increased significantly, making it difficult to clear cargo off the terminals and bring in ships at anchor,” according to the ports.