Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach further delay freight charges – Daily Breeze
The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have again delayed implementing a levy on shipping carriers whose import containers persist at marine terminals, even as imports remain at record levels and the ports’ traditional peak season is approaching.
The fee will potentially take effect, if required, on Friday, June 24.
The Container Dwell Fee has been delayed essentially since its inception, with officials citing progress in reducing the number of containers at terminals since late October as the reason.
The fee is one of many efforts to expedite cargo processing at the San Pedro port complex to eliminate a backlog of ships trying to deliver cargo.
Port of Los Angeles officials said when the policy was announced that about 40% of import containers sit idle in terminals for at least nine days.
The ports, the two busiest in the country, were originally due to impose the levy on Nov. 1, but delayed it for two weeks to give shipping carriers time to voluntarily comply. When November 15 arrived, the ports delayed fees for a week – and postponing fees has been a weekly rite ever since.
While ports have seen steady improvements in the freight backlog in the months since the levy was created, that progress has leveled off for weeks now.
Ports, for example, reported on Friday June 17 that they had seen a combined 38% drop in aging cargo at docks since the levy was announced.
But it’s the same as last week – and 12 percentage points lower than the last week of May.
The plateau in backlog reduction came even as there was no dip in the ongoing freight surge that began in the second half of 2020.
May was Long Beach’s second-busiest month in its 111-year history — with only May 2021 leading the way.
May was the third busiest month in LA Port history.
And officials said freight could increase even more in the coming weeks, as China’s continued recovery from another pandemic lockdown coincides with retailers preparing for back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons.
Still, port officials also said they were ready for their busy season.
“Looking ahead,” Port of Long Beach executive director Mario Cordero said last week, “we’re ready for the traditional summer surge to coincide with China’s recovery from a long lockdown.”
Over the next week, port officials will monitor and reassess whether to implement the fee.
The ability to collect the fee expires July 28, unless the Long Beach and Los Angeles Harbor Commissions extend the program a third time. The pilot program was originally scheduled to last 90 days.
The fee, if applied, would start at $100 per container, increasing by $100 per container each day. Containers destined for transport by truck and rail would incur the charge if they remained in ports for nine days or more.
Fees collected under the policy would be reinvested in programs to improve efficiency, increase freight speeds and address the effects of congestion.
Southern California News Group staff contributed to this report.