LA-LB Ports to Impose Late Fees on Carriers to Clear Cargo Faster
The ports of Los Angeles & Long Beach will be charging ocean carriers $ 100 per container if it sits for longer than the allotted time starting next Monday, ie. 1st Nov 2021. An incremental $ 100 will be added each day. These charges are applicable for containers moving by truck that dwell for 9 days or more. For containers moving by rail, charges will be applicable if it has dwelled for 6 days or more. The fines are the most recent attempts at clearing out containers off the dock amidst supply chain crisis.
Since the announcement, shipping lines began sending letters to the importers alerting them to be prepared for the new charges. As liners are looking to pass on the cost to beneficial cargo owners and retailers, it will go right into the consumer’s bottom line. Several logistics professionals have expressed skepticism about whom the fees will actually impact, why carriers are being singled out and whether the ports have the legal authority to impose late fees.
The fine for containers lingering at the terminals seems to be designed to pressure shippers to collect containers faster. The port authorities had to direct the surcharges against carriers with terminal leases because they don’t have jurisdiction over importers, though officials realize the customer is likely to pay ultimately.
The ports had also announced their intent to extend operating hours at truck gates to move containers faster off the congested docks. However, this method hasn’t proved optimum as according to SSA Marine, 30% of the slots for appointments have gone unused as containers are not being picked up.
It is also pointed out that the container pile-ups at the terminals is largely due to congested warehouses in the area, as well as of congestion on the rails and at inland facilities. Local truckers have been slow to pick up containers because importers are struggling to find space in warehouses and therefore leave cargo at the ports, despite the high demurrage charges.