Friday, July 6, 2012

Port of Long Beach Approves Shipping Incentives

The Port of Long Beach Board is installing two new incentive programs in August, one aimed at attracting more containers to come through Long Beach via rail, the other designed to encourage larger, cleaner ships to dock at the port.

Under the programs, which launch Aug. 1, the largest ships calling at the port will have their daily dockage fees capped, and ocean carriers who move additional containers via rail through Long Beach will get incentives.

“This is about going after additional business,” Long Beach Harbor Commissioner Rich Dines said prior to the board’s unanimous approval of both measures July 2.

Under one program, the port will cap daily dockage fees at $8,641 a day for ships longer than 345 meters, or 1,132 feet. Without the change, the largest vessels would pay more than $11,000 a day in dockage fees.

Also, ships that qualify under the port’s Green Ship Award Program - another new incentive that also was approved this week - may earn up to $6,000 more in incentives. The program aims to attract newer, less polluting vessels to Long Beach.

Ocean carriers also will save on rail cargo costs under a program that will give them a $10 incentive for every additional container they move via rail through Long Beach between Aug. 1, 2012, and July 31, 2013, compared to the previous one-year period. Such containers account for more than two-thirds of all containerized cargo moving through Long Beach, according to the port.

The incentive is designed to encourage them to ferry more cargo through Long Beach and increase the use of rail, which is less polluting than trucks on a per-container basis. “Shippers have options on how to route their cargo, and we want to make sure we give them the right reasons to move through Long Beach,” POLB Executive Director Chris Lytle said.

The port says the programs are expected to accomplish multiple goals, including helping protect the port’s share of business in an increasingly competitive maritime market, keeping jobs in the region and encouraging more environmentally friendly and efficient practices.