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HomeNewsCity NewsCongested Ports of Long Beach Introduce Fines for Overstayed Cargo

Congested Ports of Long Beach Introduce Fines for Overstayed Cargo

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Beginning Dec. 6, the Los Angeles and Long Beach Ports will fine cargo containers that have remained over 13 days at terminals.  

These fines have been implemented in efforts to mitigate and reduce the bottleneck issues of the supply chain, especially with the upcoming holidays. This occurs when the cargo ships come into the ports but are not responded to quickly enough by shippers, such as trucks and freight trains. The holiday season is forecasted to increase the amount of cargo by 24.3% percent through September, in comparison to 2020’s holiday season. 

The bottleneck issues have led to cargo carriers remaining at these ports for days. On top of the consumer habits of a holiday pandemic, the work shortage of truck drivers for cargo containers has also contributed to this growing trend.

When these fees settle in, they will begin charging $100 per day if the cargo that is planned to be transported by trains remains in the port for more than six days. The same fee applies to those transported on trucks, but with a time frame of nine days instead. The price increases by $100 a day. For perspective, the LA ports currently have an average wait time of 12 days waiting on the dock. This would lead to an average fee of $2,100 per container that was to be taken by train. 

The fees were initially discussed on Oct. 25, with plans to implement the fines on Nov. 1. However, the initiation of the fines have since been delayed in order to give cargo companies enough time to plan. Cargo ships had until Nov. 22 before fines would be given. As stated before this grace period was then lengthened to Dec. 6. 

Since the Oct. 25 announcement, there has been a 26% improvement in the movement of old cargo in the Los Angeles ports. The Long Beach port has improved by 32%.

Despite improvements, “older cargo still isn’t moving as fast as it needs to,” Port of LA Harbor Commissioner Anthony Pirozzi said.

This bottleneck in the U.S. supply chain is not limited to LA county. The bottlenecking of the supply chain has been a growing nationwide problem that required presidential involvement. The first action prior to the fees was President Joe Biden’s launch of the Supply Chain Disruption Task Force on June 8, a new group to solve this trend. Biden’s plans on bottlenecking specifically targeted the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach on Oct. 13, with the plan of a switch to 24/7 operation of the ports. 

The 24/7 switch is projected to double the hours that cargo is transferred from offshore to delivery trucks, as well as help unclog these ports that are necessary for 40% of U.S. imported goods. 

The continuous support of increasing the efficiency and speed of these ports has found the most financial support in the historical Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal. The deal was approved on Nov. 15 and provides $1.2 trillion in support of infrastructure, with $17 billion of that being used to develop the ports.

Gov. Gavin Newsom visited the Los Angeles ports on Nov. 17, alongside White House appointee and former Deputy Secretary of Transportation John D. Porcari. This visit worked as an opportunity for Newsom to explain the future for the ports and the change in infrastructure from the newfound billion-dollar budget. 

The situation in the ports is inherently a complex one due to the cooperation of hundreds of cargo companies. 

“You can’t flip a light switch in this very complicated supply chain and have it change overnight,” Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero said

Angela Isabel Casillas is a City News Intern for the fall 2021 quarter. She can be reached at aicasill@uci.edu