Tuesday, October 21, 2014

POLB Temporarily Extends Demurrage Window

By Mark Edward Nero

From now through the end of October, containers imported into the Port of Long Beach will have an extra three days that they can remain on the docks before fees kick in, the port revealed Oct. 17.

The move is being made to give some relief to cargo owners as the supply chain works to eliminate congestion that has plagued the port for months. From Oct. 18 through Oct. 31, the “free” time that containers can sit before demurrage is charged has been extended from four to seven business days.

“The terminal congestion is very unfortunate, and a truly exceptional occurrence, so I am using my authority to waive demurrage fees through the end of the month,” Port of Long Beach Chief Executive Jon Slangerup said.

A number of factors have combined to back up cargo at the local port complex in recent weeks: an upswing in cargo shipments arriving for the holiday shopping season, the arrival of larger ships that can carry 50 percent more cargo and a shortage of truck chassis to haul containers.

“As additional cargo flows through the port, helping to sustain jobs both locally and throughout the country, the Port of Long Beach is doing what it can to help terminal operators ease congestion and move cargo through the port efficiently,” the port said in a statement announcing the move.

The adjoining Port of Los Angeles, however, says it has no plans to introduce such a waiver.
“There is a concern that this will not help the overall situation,” POLA spokesman Phillip Sanfield told Pacific Maritime Magazine, saying that instead, the port is looking at other anti-congestion measures, including opening up more areas to temporary container and chassis storage.