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Port of Los Angeles Plans Fees for Empty Containers

The Port of Los Angeles plans to begin charging a fee to ocean carriers that allow empty cargo containers to linger on its marine terminals for nine days or longer.

The fee, subject to approval by the Los Angeles Harbor Commission, would take effect on Jan. 30. At that point, ocean carriers will be charged $100 for an empty container dwelling for nine days, increasing in $100 increments per container per day until the container leaves the terminal. If approved by the Harbor Commission, the fee will be implemented at the discretion of the port’s executive director.

“While we have seen significant success reducing import containers on our docks the past two months, too many empty containers are currently sitting on marine terminals,” Port of Los Angeles executive director Gene Seroka said. “Just like the import dwell fee, the objective with this empty container program is not to collect fees but to free up valuable space on our docks, clearing the way for more ships and improving fluidity.”

The Los Angeles Harbor Commission will consider the program at its Jan. 13 board meeting. The Port of Los Angeles announced a similar program on Oct. 25 for lingering import containers. The port has delayed enacting the fee on the import containers because import containers dwelling more than nine days has dropped by 53 percent since Oct. 24.

Any fees collected from dwelling cargo will be reinvested for programs designed to enhance efficiency, accelerate cargo velocity and address congestion impacts.

North America’s leading seaport by container volume and cargo value, the Port of Los Angeles facilitated $259 billion in trade during 2020. The Port of Los Angeles has remained open with all terminals operational throughout the pandemic.

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