Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach may implement long-delayed container dwell fee

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Maersk warned that the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach could impose a long-delayed container dwell fee.


Maersk said in the past that it anticipates the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to soon implement the dwell fee, which was announced in October and since delayed week after week, as ports continue to deal with congestion. The carrier said in a tariff notice that the likelihood that the charge would be implemented "has risen significantly this month."

Lars Jensen, CEO of Danish container shipping consultancy Vespucci Maritime, agrees that ports may soon feel more pressure to "address the dwell situation", due to "dwell conditions appear not to be improving in the slack season and with the peak season … coming." In fact, Jensen said on LinkedIn, container retention times have been steadily getting worse since January.

Under the policy of the dwell fee for overdue containers, as a result of the ports' coordination with the Biden-Harris Supply Chain Disruption Task Force, the US Department of Transportation, and various supply chain stakeholders, Ocean carriers will be charged $100 for each imported container moved by truck during the first nine days allowed. For rail freight containers, the carrier will be charged a dwell fee of $100 for the first six days allowed. This fee will increase by USD 100 per container for each overdue day.

According to Maersk, “the relevant Port Authority will be charging the fee and submitting the bill to Ocean Carriers to act as collection agents to charge and invoice those with a cargo interest in the laden import containers.” Maersk notes that it “will collect any amounts due from cargo owners (or their designated demurrage payer) before releasing the cargo.”

To help customers reduce fees, if implemented, Maersk has developed a dockside loading and unloading program for long-term containers in LA and Newark, and is looking at similar programs in other locations. It is also promoting a “Saturday gate incentive” in LA and Long Beach that offers a $100 per container credit for imported pickups through June 18.

Many container shipping analysts are warning of the effect the number of cargo ships arriving at ports on the west coast of North America as Shanghai reopens from lockdown and peak season begins earlier than usual in the coming months this month.

According to New York-based Ocean Audit, a total of 690,000 teu were shipped from Asia to Long Beach and Los Angeles between June 25 and July 1, up from 646,000 teu in the same period the previous year.

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