LA, Long Beach Ports Delay Container Fees – Again – Citing Proactive Shipping Line Cooperation – Press Enterprise

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will postpone – for the second time – billing high fees to ocean carriers who leave goods too long at terminals.

Fees will not be billed until at least November 22. The charges, after an initial delay, were due to start on Monday, November 15, to help ease a supply chain crisis that experts say threatens economic recovery. of the coronavirus pandemic.

The stay comes due to the early compliance of shipping companies in the clearance of goods since the tariff was approved by the two boards of port commissions in late October, the ports said on Monday.

“We are encouraged by the progress our supply chain partners have made in helping our terminals dispose of long-term import containers,” said Mario Cordero, Executive Director of the Port of Long Beach.

For now, the ports will be monitoring the docks to see what improvements they can get without having to take the stick.

Since the charges were announced on October 25, the twin ports have seen a 26% drop in old cargoes on the docks. said the ports.

Dockworkers unloading waiting ships were slowed down due to excess cargo clogging up quay space, forcing dozens of ships to idle even longer until enough space could be cleared for work with the next ship.

Port of Los Angeles executive director Gene Seroka said there had been “significant improvement” in container clearance in recent weeks.

“I am grateful to the many nodes in the supply chain, shipping lines, marine terminals, trucks and cargo owners, for their increased collaborative efforts,” Seroka said in a written comment.

Seroka said ports will continue to monitor data as November 22 approaches.

“Postponing the expense review,” Cordero said, “provides more time while keeping the focus on the results we need.”

Under the system, ports would charge ocean carriers $ 100 per container per day for each box to be trucked that remains at least nine days and for each container to be moved by rail that remains six or more days.

“We are encouraged by the progress our supply chain partners have made in helping our terminals dispose of long-lasting import containers,” Cordero said. “Obviously, everyone is working together to speed up the movement of goods and reduce the backlog of ships as quickly as possible. “

Charges levied on seated cargo would be reinvested in programs designed to “improve efficiency, speed up cargo speeds and address the impacts of congestion,” a statement from the Port of LA said.

When asked if ports are really serious about billing fees with two delays already granted, Port of Los Angeles spokesman Phillip Sanfield said companies’ preemptive push to move containers achieved the overall goal.

“As we said from the start, our goal is to clean the docks, not to collect a fee,” said Sanfield. “Both ports have seen significant improvement, so we will be re-evaluating the appearance of the docks in a week’s time.”

“We are encouraged that things are moving in the right direction,” said Noel Hacegaba, deputy executive director of the Port of Long Beach, “and look forward to seeing more progress in the week ahead.”

“In discussions with ocean carriers, marine terminal operators, trucking companies, railways and longshoremen, we see that everyone is determined to do everything possible to bring these vessels to anchor. dockside and these goods in the market, ”Hacegaba said. “Everyone is coming together and finding ways to work together to keep the cargo moving. “

The impetus for the 90-day program cost a far-reaching effort – which included federal and state governments, ports and the multiple industries that make up the supply chain – to break a bottleneck that caused shortages of goods before the holiday season and made real the dreaded vulnerability of the supply chain.

The fee policy, in fact, was developed in coordination with the Biden-Harris Supply Chain Disruption Task Force, the US Department of Transportation, the two ports, and several supply chain stakeholders. .

The coronavirus pandemic caused a first cargo crash in the first half of 2020 before changes in consumption patterns caused imports to skyrocket. The record import months have continued this year and have no end in sight.

But in the wake of the wave, ships had to wait days and often weeks at sea, containers piled up in terminals and sometimes on city streets, trucking companies struggled to find chassis for transporting containers and warehouses and overflowed.

The longshoremen have said that there are times when they cannot get the goods out of the ships because there is nowhere to put the containers.

Before the surge in imports that began in mid-2020, containers destined for local delivery stayed at container terminals for less than four days. Those intended for trains usually stayed for less than two days.

Containers have exceeded that standard in recent months, although there has been an improvement in recent times, as ports noted on Monday.

The Port of Long Beach, for example, had 19,092 containers set to depart by truck that had been there for at least nine days as of Monday. According to port data, 564 were due to leave by train which had been there for at least six days.

That’s a 25% drop from October 28.

The Port of LA did not have similar figures available.

We are delighted, “said Michele Grubbs, vice president of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, in a statement,” to see containers leaving marine terminals.

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