San Pedro Bay ports have once again delayed the imposition of tariffs on companies whose import containers stop at sea terminals, even as aging cargo ticked up over the past week and Long Beach port has announced another record-breaking month – while warning of another impending charge.
The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach announced on Friday, May 13 that they would stop implementing the duty at least until the end of next week, although that is unlikely to happen.
The Container Dwell Fee has inevitably been delayed since its construction, with port officials citing voluntary progress in reducing the number of containers at terminals.
The tariffs, which were announced by port officials at the end of October, were initially due to start from November 1. But they quickly delayed it until 15 November, to give sea carriers time to face penalties. When that date arrived, the ports postponed it till November 22.
Procrastination has been a weekly rite ever since.
The fee is one of a number of efforts aimed at expediting the processing of cargo at the San Pedro Port Complex, in order to eliminate the backlog of ships trying to deliver goods. Officials at the Port of Los Angeles, the nation’s busiest, said when the policy was announced that about 40% of import containers were idle at terminals for at least nine days.
And for months, despite the tariffs not taking effect, ports saw a steady decline in aging cargo volumes.
But that has changed in recent weeks, with aging cargo volumes declining.
On Friday, ports reported a combined 50% drop in aging cargo at docks since the tariffs were announced.
But it is three percentage points worse than last week – and the same level as the week before that.
Since March 25, when ports registered a 57% drop, aging cargo volumes have dropped by almost 50%.
And port officials, who will oversee and reevaluate the duty’s implementation next week, are now prepared for a potential cargo surge.
The Port of Long Beach, the country’s second busiest port, announced on Friday that the previous month was the busiest April on record. The port has set monthly cargo records every month this year.
The port moved 820,718 twenty-foot equivalent units – TEU is the universal cargo measurement – last month, up 10% from the previous April record set in 2021.
Both LA and Long Beach ports have regularly broken cargo records since the second half of 2020, initially by changing consumer habits during the coronavirus pandemic.
Imports and empty containers have driven a sustained boom on a large scale.
The Port of Long Beach, for example, saw a 9.2% increase in imports in April compared to the same month last year, while empty containers – the need to return to Asia to be reloaded – increased by 16.9% Hui.
Exports, the port said, declined 1.8%.
“Cargo continues to move at a record-setting pace,” said Mario Cordero, executive director of Long Beach Port, “and may not be slowing down anytime soon.”
Perhaps the biggest reason is that the prolonged shutdown in China will eventually end, and factories will be back to work, Long Beach Port said in a release.
But the easing of the pandemic in the US is also a factor, Port said: While inflation has flattened retail spending, homes are spending more on entertainment, restaurants and other in-person services – operations that need to be imported from elsewhere. is needed.
And by the middle of summer, ports will also have to deal with their traditional busy season, as retailers prepare for the winter holidays.
“We are preparing for a potential boom in the summer as China recovers from an extended shutdown due to COVID-19,” Cordero said in a statement. “Shippers are increasingly moving imports and vacating from docks, terminals are staying open longer and we are working to finalize our new supply chain information highway data tracking solution.”
According to Long Beach Port, this information is meant to help companies operating at each stage of the highway supply chain — shippers, ocean carriers, trucking companies — to connect with each other to track cargo.
The port, which announced the program late last year, has partnered with a St. Louis company called UNCOMN to build a data-tracking highway. The port said the program is meant to help cargo flow through the supply chain more efficiently.
Meanwhile, LA and Long Beach ports also have cargo charges as a potential tool to speed up cargo if it arrives at it.
Fees, if applicable, will start at $100 per container, increasing by $100 per container each day. Ocean carriers will bear the charges for all containers earmarked for transport by truck and rail staying at terminals for nine days or more.
The fee was initially set for 90 days, but the pilot program has been extended twice. It is now set to expire on July 28, unless extended for a third time by the Long Beach and Los Angeles Port Commissions.
“We are working closely with our industry stakeholders to quickly remove cargo from our docks and make room for the next wave of containers,” Long Beach Harbor Commission President Steven Neal said in a statement. “As the supply chain continues to take hold, the Port of Long Beach will continue to serve as a trusted partner in trans-Pacific trade.”
City News Service contributed to this report.