Los Angeles, Long Beach ports to fine shipping companies over backlog

Los Angeles, Long Beach ports to fine shipping companies over backlog
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Officials for the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach said on Monday that they will begin fining shipping companies whose cargo containers stay in marine terminals for too long as they work to reduce congestion in their ports.

Beginning on Nov. 1, the ports will charge containers that fall into two categories: containers scheduled to move by truck and containers moving by rail. 

Ocean carriers will be charged for every container scheduled to move by truck that has been dwelling in the port for longer than nine days.

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For containers meant to be moved by rail, carriers will be charged after they have been in the port for three days. Ocean carriers will be charged $100 per container, with the fines increasing in $100 increments per day per container.

Port officials said that before the import surge brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, containers for truck delivery sat in terminals for less than four days, while containers for train delivery sat in the terminal for less than two days. The waiting times have since "increased significantly."

“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," Seroka added. "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, "With the escalating backlog of ships off the coast, we must take immediate action to prompt the rapid removal of containers from our marine terminals,” adding that the ports are running out of space.

The fees collected from idling containers will be invested into programs meant to enhance efficiency, the ports said.

This policy was created with the Biden-Harris Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force, the Department of Transportation and numerous supply chain stakeholders.