LA-Long Beach Port Extends Cap on Dockage Fees

The Long Beach Harbor Commission has extended a cap it had placed on dockage fees charged to shipping lines until June 30th, in order to give supply chain stakeholders some relief from the congestion issues, the Journal of Commerce reports.

The cap on dockage fees was put into effect last December as port congestion worsened during the coastwide contract negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA). The relief offered by the port was intended to run through March 31, but the commission on Monday voted to extend the cap an additional three months.

Dockage fees are a standard port charge listed in the tariffs of Long Beach and Los Angeles. The cap recognized that vessels that formerly had been unloaded and reloaded in 3 ½ to four days were taking as many as seven days to work because of port congestion. The harbor commission’s agenda item noted vessels continue to experience longer dockage periods as well as greater dwell times at anchor.

When the ILWU and PMA reached a tentative contract agreement on Feb. 20, executives at the Southern California ports predicted it would take three months for the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex to return to normal.  The proposed extension of dockage fees cap  would cover the time it would take for the port to address the backlog.  As of March 24th there were 19 container vessels awaiting berthing space at the port – a smaller number than the 24+ that were anchored offshore just a few weeks back.

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