Los Angeles and Long Beach Ports Considering Emergency Surcharge

In what is being called a “last ditch effort” by the Biden administration to improve the fluidity of containers, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are possibly charging a new “emergency storage fee” on all long dwelling cargo carriers effective today. This will have an impact on cost for freight moving through these ports.

The policy is planned to go into effect November 1 with fees collected by November 15.

The potential surcharges will be levied on carriers whose containers remain at the sister ports for nine or more days. $100 per container will be charged on the first day, then increase in increments of $100 with each passing day. In other words, the total charges on the second day would be $300, $600 on the third day, $1000 on the fourth day, and so on.

Carriers — who are required under FMC law to file increases or new charges with  30-day’s notice — are scrambling to seek ways to legally pass on the surcharges to importers and non-vessel-operating common carriers (NVOs).

Port authorities seem open to delaying Monday’s implementation of the fees if they get a sense that the announcement itself is enough for major importers — who don’t want to assume the fees if passed on by carriers — to actively remove containers.

The fee is designed to force the retrieval of long-dwelling containers, but some of the causes for the stagnancy at the ports is out of the control of carriers and their customers such as the magnitude of empty containers clogging the ports, the chassis shortages and the labor shortage.

It has been reported that, as of last week, roughly 74 vessels are anchored and awaiting to unload about 575,000 containers at the ports.

According to the Port of Los Angeles, roughly 40 percent of import containers have been idling at their container terminals for nine or more days.

You can read the port’s press release here: https://www.portoflosangeles.org/references/2021-news-releases/news_102931_cargofee

We are diligently following the ever-changing situation. We will continue to communicate any new developments. If you have any questions or need more details, please contact your Worldwide Logistics Group partner.