The ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles will begin charging shipping carriers a surcharge to store their containers in an effort to clear a backlog that threatens to derail the entire supply chain.
For the past 20 years, the Los Angeles area has been the busiest shipping port in the Western Hemisphere. Thousands of empty cargo containers have overwhelmed the ports and surrounding cities as a glut of ships drop off their goods without taking anything back with them. Truckers say they wait hours, if not days, to receive loads and are prohibited from bringing back empty containers because there is no room to store them.
“We must expedite the movement of cargo through the ports to work down the number of ships at anchor,” Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said in a statement. “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 utilize our ports.”
Shipping companies will be assessed cargo storage fees of $100 per day beginning on Nov. 1. To avoid fines, shippers must move their containers within nine days for delivery by truck or three days by rail.
As of Monday, 107 ships are anchored off the shore with another 29 expected in the next few days. The number of ships continues to break previous records and shows no sign of slowing down. A recent storm resulted in a cruise ship dragging an anchor and a cargo ship losing propulsion, and both were immediately allowed to dock, said Capt. J. Kipling Louttit of the Marine Exchange of Southern California.
Last summer, containers with local delivery by truck sat in terminals for about four days while rail cargo was held less than two days. The storage time has increased to nine days for trucks and five days for rail, port officials said.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has directed the state to find government-owned lots that can store the empty containers while Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia will now allow up to five containers to be stacked on top of each other, reaching a height of 40 feet. Police have been ticketing containers abandoned on city streets.
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Original Author: Tori Richards
Original Location: Shippers to be fined for leaving cargo at LA ports