When the West Coast terminal ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach were were struggling to handle record cargo volumes, as post-pandemic lockdown consumer spending spiked, they implemented dwell fees in October 2021 to discourage long-dwelling containers on their terminals.

As we entered 2023 vessel backlogs on the West Coast had evaporated (down from 109 in 2021), terminal congestion was cleared and port operations were approaching normal.

Import volumes through US West Coast ports were down 3.6% on 2021, in the first 10 months of 2022.

The San Pedro Bay ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles have confirmed that they will phase out the option to collect a “Container Dwell Fee” on the 24th January 2023.

Since the programme was announced in October 2021, the two ports have seen a combined decline of 92% in containers left on the docks.

While both ports have had the authority from their respective harbour commissions to implement the fee, it has never actually been activated because cargo owners were able to clear long-dwelling cargo off terminals.

When they launched the dwell fee, the ports said that they we would prefer not to collect a dime, because that would mean that containers were moving off their docks, and it seem that that is exactly what has occurred.

Under the temporary policy, ocean carriers could be charged for each import container dwelling nine days or more at Long Beach and Los Angeles terminals. The Long Beach and Los Angeles Boards of Harbour Commissioners both extended the fee program through the 24th January 2023 and neither port plans to extend the program beyond that date.

If you have any questions relating to this update, or would like to discuss a specific requirements, please EMAIL our US development manager, Lewis Atkinson