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SoCal ports could fine carriers for tardy containers by Nov. 15

Harbor commissions meet Friday to consider anti-congestion measure, but details remain limited

Port authorities in Los Angeles and Long Beach plan to start assessing and collecting late fees on loaded import containers that remain on the docks for extended periods as soon as Nov. 15. The information was disclosed in agendas for emergency meetings of the respective harbor commissions on Friday.

The boards will vote on plans submitted by port staff to charge ocean carriers $100 per day, increasing in $100 increments per container per day, for containers scheduled to move locally by truck that are left for nine days or more, and for containers scheduled to move by intermodal rail that dwell for six days or more. The levies are effective Nov. 1.

The “Container Excess Dwell Fee,” which was designed in close coordination with the Biden administration and unidentified industry stakeholders as a way to incentivize faster pickup of containers, is scheduled to last for 90 days, according to the agendas. The goal is to free up space for several crowded terminals that are preventing ships from efficiently discharging cargo, resulting in a queue of 74 container vessels waiting outside the port for a parking spot.

The surcharge will be billed to ocean carriers and collected (directly or through an appointed agent) on a monthly basis, according to the Port of Long Beach’s proposed tariff. Monies collected will be deposited in a fund to cover the cost of special projects for expediting cargo. 

The ports announced the late storage fees on Monday, did not indicate then that they were subject to commission approval. 

Freight transportation companies have widely criticized the measure, saying it was developed with good intentions but could make matters worse by using up remaining chassis for off-port storage and that they are misguided because there is nowhere for full warehouses to put incoming cargo. And, while vessel operators handle the inland transportation on their customers’ behalf, they have no control over haulage directly managed by importers.

The biggest concern is that ocean carriers will pass the cost onto shippers that paid for the transport. 

According to the temporary order described in the agenda, assessment of the demurrage fees on carriers would start no earlier than Nov. 15 after the executive gives final notice at a public board meeting. The Los Angeles Harbor Commission is scheduled to meet in regular session on Nov. 18.

In related news, the Los Angeles Harbor Commission is being asked to approve a $2.5 million work order for improving a 10-acre parcel for the temporary storage of chassis and containers to help relieve congestion at the terminals. 

Click here for more American Shipper/FreightWaves stories by Eric Kulisch.


Port commissions to vote Friday on carrier fees for lingering containers

Ocean carriers will pass on fines for lingering containers to importers

Shippers fear ‘catastrophic’ fallout from ‘crazy’ California port fees

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California, US DOT to coordinate on major freight infrastructure projects


  1. It does not make sense that the port would operate 24hrs yet customers are not. Also why wasn’t a temporary adjustment to the H.O.S for trucks not included in this plan. Funny how a problem that was created by a virus and a sideways ship can not be solved. (SMH)

  2. I get paid over $87 per hour working from home with 2 kids at home. I never thought I’d be able to do it but my best friend earns over 10k a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The potential with this is endless.
    Here’s what I’ve been doing…► 𝗪𝘄𝘄.𝗝𝗼𝗯𝘀𝟳𝟬.𝗰𝗼𝗺

Eric Kulisch

Eric is the Supply Chain and Air Cargo Editor at FreightWaves. An award-winning business journalist with extensive experience covering the logistics sector, Eric spent nearly two years as the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Automotive News, where he focused on regulatory and policy issues surrounding autonomous vehicles, mobility, fuel economy and safety. He has won two regional Gold Medals from the American Society of Business Publication Editors for government coverage and news analysis, and was voted best for feature writing and commentary in the Trade/Newsletter category by the D.C. Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. As associate editor at American Shipper Magazine for more than a decade, he wrote about trade, freight transportation and supply chains. Eric is based in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached for comments and tips at