US ports introduce unlimited fines for cargo delays

Two US ports have introduced unlimited fines for delayed containers, in a move designed to alleviate a worsening backlog of cargo ships in the area.

San Pedro Bay Ports announced that its twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach would levy US$100 for every container from November 1, 2021. The fines begin after nine days for containers moving by truck, and three days for those using rail.

In a statement announcing the measures, Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said: ‘We must expedite the movement of cargo through the ports to work down the number of ships at anchor. Approximately 40 per cent of the containers on our terminals today fall into the two categories. If we can clear this idling cargo, we’ll have much more space on our terminals to accept empties, handle exports, and improve fluidity for the wide range of cargo owners who utilise our ports.’

Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero added: ‘With the escalating backlog of ships off the coast, we must take immediate action to prompt the rapid removal of containers from our marine terminals. The terminals are running out of space, and this will make room for the containers sitting on those ships at anchor.’

San Pedro Bay Ports said the income from the fines would be re-invested by the two ports ‘for programs designed to enhance efficiency, accelerate cargo velocity, and address congestion impacts throughout the San Pedro Bay’.

According to reports, there were 79 container vessels waiting outside on the two ports on October 25, 2021.

The San Pedro Bay Ports statement is available here.

Photo by Barrett Ward on Unsplash

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